C-sections have become such common procedures that it’s easy to forget that they are in fact major abdominal surgeries – and with a new arrival to take care of it can be tempting to try and jump back into your old routine without giving your body the proper time it needs to heal. If you’ve undergone a c-section procedure then you will most likely stay in hospital for between 2-4 days before being sent home where the rest of your recovery journey will be on you. This can be incredibly daunting for some new mothers but remember that you will not be sent home from the hospital until you are ready to go it alone.
We tend to romanticize motherhood but the reality is that through the initial at home recovery stage you will need a lot of support with simple daily tasks such as standing, sitting and lifting. Try to surround yourself with as much help as possible, be that from your partner, parents, other relatives or friends, it’s important to not try and do everything yourself as this could cause damage to your incision and prolong the healing process. Let people help you and focus your attention on healing and enjoying time with your new baby.
Sitting and Standing
Whilst in hospital you will be encouraged by your doctor and nurses to get up and walk within just 12 hours of your c-section procedure, this is because gentle movement can help to reduce swelling and promote healing. However, it will be a bit longer before you will find it easy to sit and stand unaided and when returning home you will no longer have the mobility friendly equipment of the hospital and nurses around you for support. If this is something that’s worrying you, there are a few simple home modifications you can make to help you sit and stand in the early days of recovery such as looking into Spring Chicken riser recliner chairs which will help to gently move you into the standing and seating position without the need to use your abdominal muscles. You can also purchase stick and stay mobility handles and grab rails for areas such as the bathroom to help you when getting in and out of the shower or when getting on and off the toilet. If you struggle with getting up stairs then maybe move your bed downstairs for the first week or so of at home recovery and try to keep everything you need to hand and nearby so that you aren’t having to get up multiple times in the day.
You should be able to lift your baby just 2-4 days after your surgery, however it’s recommended that you don’t lift anything heavier than your baby for up to 8 weeks. This means that you will need help with things such as carrying groceries and lifting your pushchair or baby carrier. It can be very frustrating to need help with these simple things but it’s important to remind yourself that your c-section involved an incision through your abdominal wall and your abdominal muscles need time to heal. Pushing yourself too far in the early stages of recover could rip your stitches and set you further back in the healing process.
Cleaning the wound
Your c-section wound will have been dressed by the hospital before you are discharged and you will be given more dressings to apply yourself at home. After the first day you will need to gently wash and dry the area to keep it clean and check it daily to monitor for any signs of infection such as redness, swelling or discharge. If you can’t see the wound yourself then use a handheld mirror or ask your partner or friend to check it for you. If you experience any symptoms of infection or a sudden increase in pain then get straight in touch with your midwife or doctor.
There’s no sugar coating it, your c-section site is going to be painful. To keep your pain at bay you will often be prescribed a dose of painkillers which have been deemed safe to take whilst breastfeeding. Take your pain medication on time and regularly to maintain a therapeutic dose but if you are still in too much pain then speak to your midwife about other pain relief options.
A c-section delivery is major surgery, so finding things a little tough is going to be perfectly normal. Cut yourself some slack and try to be patient as your body recovers, time is natures greatest healer and you’ll be back to your normal self in no time as long as you allow it to do its work.
Disclosure: This is a partnered post