C-section or Cesarean delivery may be a painless delivery option but it often comes with its own set of disadvantages, the most serious being its recovery time period. A data from the past four years published in the National Family Health Surveys show that there has been a significant increase in the rate of C-sections across the country, especially in the urban cities. Although C-section is a life-saving birth method for both the mother and the baby, the time taken to recover is usually longer. Talking from experience, I was a cesarean baby and have heard from my mother the excruciating pain she had to go through post delivery and frequent bouts of pain even months after delivery. As per medical guides, the normal recovery time after a cesarean delivery is expected to be 4-6 weeks, but most studies have shown that 60% of women take almost 6 months or more to recover.
What happens immediately post C-section delivery?
There may be certain health risks associated in the first 24 hours post delivery –
Blood clots –
This is one of the biggest risks faced postcesarean delivery and women who are obese or unable to move for long periods usually experience this.
This is a common health issue faced by all women post delivery as the uterus shrinks. It happens in the first 24 hours.
The nurse and the doctor has to constantly monitor the incision for signs of infection a few days post-cesarean.
Recovery post-C-section takes a longer time than promised by the doctor. Some women complain of muscle pain and pain in the incision for many months after surgery while others seem to find it difficult controlling their bladder and facing urinary incontinence because of weak pelvic floor muscles.
Here are 5 tips for you to follow post-C-section to help you recover well:
1. Take rest
Plenty of rest is the key to fast recovery post-cesarean. But it actually gets impossible to lie down and rest with a newborn in the house. Take help from your family members or keep a caretaker. Try and sleep as and when your baby sleeps.
2. Take short walks regularly
When you feel the blood flow and the pain have reduced, try walking around your house the first few days. Gradually take short walks in your neighborhood while pushing your baby in the stroller. It will help you stay physically and mentally fit. Walking will also lower the risk of blood clots.
3. Prevent constipation
Constipation can be a common issue post-c-section delivery due to weak stomach muscles, hormonal shifts and spending time being inactive. It can lead to straining of the incision. Talk to your doctor and set out a meal plan with lots of veggies, fruits, and fiber. Drink enough water and if needed, consider taking a stool softener medicine.
4. Take help while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a big challenge after cesarean delivery. New mothers face a lot of obstacles to latch their baby properly as they often face a lot of discomfort sitting properly due to the incision. Take help from your caregiver on how to latch your baby properly in such situations or use a supportive chair or a breastfeeding cushion so that the entire process of feeding your baby gets easier.
5. Take care of the pain
Pain is a common discomfort faced by women for many months post C –section. Don’t struggle; consult your doctor to prescribe some painkillers that will not harm your baby.
While some post cesarean discomforts are common, excess pain and extreme emotional ruffles need treatment. Look out for these signs:
- Intense/sharp uterine cramps
- Difficulty in urinating
- Excessive bleeding
- Ruptured incision
- Depression/thoughts of self-harm
- Calf pain
- Breathing difficulty
Motherhood is a difficult transition. Every woman has their own unique way to cope up with it. Recovery from cesarean does take time; there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Take to your doctor if you need some medical help. Don’t push yourself to fulfill unnecessary demands.
Take care of yourself and your baby. Recovery is important for a healthy future.