How long does it take for C-section to heal? How long do you stay in hospital after C-section? How long after C-section can you drive or how long after C-section can I take a bath? These are all questions for which any woman that chooses Caesarean birth as an option of delivery needs an answer.
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How Long Does It Take for C-Section to Heal?
The physical recovery after a Caesarean delivery is different for each woman. How long it takes to return to “normal” depends on how quickly you recover after surgery and whether or not there are any complications occurred during the procedure and immediately afterwards.
The first few days after Caesarean delivery can be quite difficult, even if everything goes well. You`ll need strong painkillers for a few days (most often your doctor will leave an epidural catheter to give you anesthetic) and then analgesic tablets and/or suppositories.
The pain relief treatment might take up to 2 weeks after birth, perhaps even more if you overburden yourself.
Some women use alternative physical recovery treatments, like acupuncture or homeopathic remedies. You could also use lukewarm bags for pain and discomfort.
Ask for medical advice to find comfortable nursing positions. Most of the new mothers who just went through a C-section consider the stretched position to be a good position – on the most comfortable side for the beginning. Maybe you won`t be able to turn to one side from the start, but the next day of the procedure you should succeed. Protect your incision with a pillow or towel.
First Week after Caesarean Delivery
The first week is considered as a period of physical recovery after a C-section. Just like after any major surgery, you can still fell weak, you can get tired easily and you won`t be able to take care of the baby and raise him to your arms without help.
Every day will be better than the previous one, and you`ll slowly return to normal. Once you get home, it`s possible to get tired of any activity and feel pain at the incision level.
Try to take it easy, accept the help and support of those around you, especially that now you have baby.
4 to 6 Weeks
After around a month and up to a month and a half, a lot of women will be able to make more effort, but they are unlikely to feel 100% well. It might be uncomfortable to lean or lift heavy objects, and it might be tiring to keep your children in your arms or to resume your old routine before birth.
It takes around 4 to 6 weeks until the incision is healed completely. Vaginal bleeding must have stopped by now or at least reduced in some way.
During this period, you`ll most likely want to resume your sexual life. It shouldn`t be a physical problem, but from an emotional and mental point of view, you might not be ready just yet. – More info!
Until about 3 months after birth, physical recovery should be complete, although you might feel lethargic, tired or unwell in certain days. Some women might still be in the recovery post-natal period and feel a lot of emotions, especially if the birth didn`t go as they wanted and there were serious complications. Talking about these things with your partner or your doctor may help you get rid of negative emotions and get over the emotional and psychological breakthrough.
You could consider resuming sexual life, which for some women can be painful, especially in case of deep penetration. This should improve over time, but if it doesn`t happen, the safest thing to do is to consult your doctor. – Read this!
Take into consideration various contraceptive methods – it`s too early to remain pregnant again.
6 to 12 Months
Between 6 and 12 months after birth, most women are totally recovering. However, some of them might still feel physical discomfort, like numbness or itching of the skin around the scar.
If some women seem to recover very fast after such an experience, others may take a few weeks or even 6 to 12 months.
Like any other mother, you should take it easy and keep with your household chores according to your present abilities. Don`t exaggerate and don`t exhaust you if you feel you aren`t able to finish everything you have proposed. Rest and relaxation are essential for recovering from a Caesarean section. Don`t forget that such a procedure, from the surgical point of view, is considered a major surgery.
Most doctors believe that only after 9 after 12 months it`s appropriate to try and conceive again. Discuss with those close to you if you want another child.
The scar will be 15 to 20 cm long. Scars are often horizontally along the upper pubic hair (vertical incisions are rarely used, usually in emergencies). – Check this out!
Some scars are crooked or uneven. However, this improves in the first few months. The incision line might suppress a slightly aqueous and reddened fluid, and the first few days it might be sensitive, which is perfectly normal in the healing process. Sometimes, the area around the incision feels a bit numb. The feeling fades in a few months.
You should go to the doctor in the following cases:
- If the skin becomes red or inflamed within a radius of 5 to 10 cm around the scar. This would most likely indicate an infection.
- If the fluid that leaks from the wound gets a consistency of pus or an unpleasant odor.
- If, after a fever, the amount of vaginal bleeding increases dramatically or starts to smell unpleasant.
- If in the first few days after birth, the uterus is very sensitive to touch. Sometimes this may indicate an infection.
Try to expose the scar to fresh air. The position of the scar on your body may often cause you to cover your belly, which can lead to wetting and possible infection of the area.
In the summer, you can sit in the sun with the exposed area to prevent all of this. If you have cracked or irritated nipples, you could also stay a little naked in the sun, as the exposure to natural light is an effective treatment. – More details!
Avoid bathing to reduce the chances of bacterial infection. Showers are more suitable.
Press gently on the wound with a clean towel after taking a shower. Try to avoid talcum powder or creams on the sensitive area until the scar heals completely.
After about 10 to 14 days, you could apply creams based on vitamin F or a yolk ointment to help heal your scar.
The scar will initially be lightly darkened or simply darker in color, and in time will become somehow pinkish, then whitish, and after a few months, diminish and fade.
How Long After C-Section Can You Drive?
It`s possible to find it hard to be behind the wheel after such a surgery.
Take in consideration the possibility of traveling by taxi or public transport. Make arrangements with family, friends or neighbors to help you with various chores, shopping or other children. Anyway, these activities should be avoided as much as possible during the first few weeks after birth.
Try shopping online as well. You`ll now see that home delivery is the greatest breakthrough of our century.
Advice for Women Who Give Birth through Caesarean Birth
1. Think about Caesarean birth as to a process that is somehow flexible. Discuss with your doctor and try to get as many information as you think you need.
2. If it`s possible, discuss with your doctor if you can have at least one person during the surgery who can offer you comfort and support. It`s best if you`ll be able to have two such persons, because one can stay with you and one with the baby, still, one is good enough. However, this may be difficult to approve at some clinics.
3. Ask if you can listen to some music during your C-section because this will most certainly help you relax.
4. Do breathing and relaxation exercises. Use these methods to calm down before the surgery.
5. Ask if you can see how the birth is taking place using a mirror.
6. Ask if you can touch your baby immediately after birth.
7. Ask if it`s possible to keep your baby at your chest when he`s receiving the medical examination regarding his health.
8. Ask your doctor after how much time you are able to start breastfeeding your baby.
9. Read educational books to better inform yourself about Caesarean birth. Keep in mind that no matter what type of birth you are choosing, the main objective is for you and your baby to be safe and healthy.
Practical Advice to Consider Before You Get Out from the Hospital
1. You`ll be encouraged to stand up and try to walk to the bathroom in the first 24 hours after your C-section. It`s important to try and move slowly because you may experience dizziness and difficulties in breathing. If you try to move little by little, your incision will heal faster.
2. After removing the catheter you may experience pain when urinating. Ask for help to a nurse who can offer you advice on this matter.
3. Talk to a doctor about the pain you may experience after the surgery. If you want to take some medication against your pains, ask permission from your doctor and ask him about any possible side effects that may affect you or your baby in case you are breastfeeding. If on the contrary, you prefer to avoid taking any medication, ask your doctor for advice regarding the choices you may have to keep yourself and your baby safe.
4. The uterus will start the process of “withdrawal,” which means that he`ll get back to its size before the pregnancy. You may experience heavy bleeding, which are called lochia and which can last for around 6 weeks. You`ll need to use menstrual pads. Don`t use any tampons (the ones that need to be inserted in the vagina) during this period.
5. You could try to make short walks around the hospital or to swing on the chair to accelerate the process of recovery.
Advice to Consider when Being at Home
1. Avoid strenuous activities, don`t lift anything heavy and try to avoid any housework at first.
2. In time you`ll experience bleeding in a different manner and may intensify depending on your position or the activity you are performing. So, take as reference this bleeding to acknowledge whether or not you are performing an activity that is too demanding. If the bleedings will intensify, stop from what you are doing and rest for a while. It`s absolutely necessary to recover after the surgery. Lochia will change in time reaching a pink or dark red color, until will become of a yellowish color in the end.
3. Drink a lot of liquids to stay hydrated.
4. Eat healthy to recover your energy and avoid constipation.
5. At first is best to always have near you food supplies and extra clothes to avoid standing up too often.
6. Be careful of high fever or intense pains – these may be indications of infections.
What to Avoid After the C-Section
- Avoid any sexual contact until you get the permission of your doctor.
- Don`t use any tampons and don`t wash inside your vagina.
- Don`t take any baths until the incision isn`t completely healed and stops bleeding.
- Don`t use public pools or Jacuzzi during this period.
- Don’t lift anything that is heavier than your baby.
- Don`t use stairs repeatedly.
- Don`t do any physical exercises until you get the permission of the doctor.
Emotional Recovery after Caesarean Section
- Give yourself enough time to get emotionally closer to your baby.
- If you have breastfeeding issues after the C-section, talk to a consultant to get lactation related help.
- Talk with someone you know you can trust about your experience to get rid of the negative emotions related to the surgery you just suffered
- Talk to your doctor about any questions related to your pregnancy. This should help you get rid of any fears you may have about becoming pregnant again in the future.
- Don`t be afraid to ask for help. The additional physical care that a mother needs to give to her body after such a surgery might make her feel overwhelmed, incapable or lonely.
Call your Doctor if You Experience any of the Symptoms
- High fever.
- Signs of any infection around the incision.
- Pain around the incision or abdomen which may appear suddenly or may worsen.
- Vaginal secretions that smell bad.
- Pain during urination.
- Heavy vaginal bleeding.
- Pain, redness or swelling in your legs.
- Difficulty in breathing or chest pain.
- Pain in one or both breasts.
- Bad thoughts regarding you or your baby.