Congratulations on your little bundle of joy, cesarean section or not.
But if you delivered with a C-section, there are a lot of things you may still not be able to do after delivery. And one of those things is bending and lifting things. Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world and you’ll be bending that back in no time.
In this article, I’ll cover all you need to know about the recovery time for the C section and tips to help your body recover. Let’s dive in.
The recovery time for a C- Section varies from mom to mom. It typically takes six weeks to recover from a C-section as the horizontal incision on your abdomen can take weeks to heal.
Ideally, you shouldn’t be lifting anything heavier than your baby, nor perform any rigorous activity. You should take out time to relax, you just had a baby.
Here’s what you should expect each week after your C-section delivery. (1)
After your surgery, you may have to spend 3-4 days in the hospital and you know, have some quality bonding time with your baby, perhaps attempt to breastfeed them.
During those few days, the hospital staff will assist you in pain management and help you move around. They will also make sure you are eating and drinking enough.
The muscles around your incision are quite weak so you need to take it easy when you finally go home. Avoid any tasks that will put pressure on the incision, whether twisting, lifting or whatever. Just take some time to relax.
Your doctor will likely prescribe some painkillers to help manage the pain at home. Although some over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen will do well to reduce the pain Always ensure that your incision is kept clean and dry.
I’d suggest you get an abdominal binder for use this week. Of course, you should ask your doctor before using it. It basically serves as additional support and kind of protects your sutures from stress.
You may also get some vaginal bleeding although it won’t be as heavy as with a vaginal delivery. This bleeding can occur as long as anywhere between four to six months. The level of bleeding should decrease with time, if it doesn’t you should reach out to your doctor.
Although, rest is needed you shouldn’t just lie around doing nothing. Get up and move around a bit. Also, make sure that you have your partner, friends, and family around you as a support system.
Depending on where you had your C-section, you should be going for a postpartum, checkup in week 2. This is so that your doctor can monitor your healing process and inspect your incision.
Over these weeks, you may get “baby blues”. And as you may have guessed this is when hormonal changes affect your mood making you feel down often. It’s normal but if gets severe and incessant, you should consult your doctor to see if it’s a case of postpartum depression.
You may need to take medication or go to therapy but it’s all for your good. Remember to call your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary before the appointment. This includes things like excessive bleeding or chest pain.
This is when you should have your last postpartum appointment and if your incision heals properly, your doctor can give you the go-ahead for a normal life. That includes exercise, sex, etc., – you can start introducing these activities slowly.
As I previously said, everybody recovers differently and it’s okay to let your doctor know of any concerns. The recovery from C-section puts a lot of stress on your body but the pain may be gone by six weeks and the incision fully healed.
We’re moms, there is always going to be a need to bend down and pick some toys of the floor. With a vaginal delivery, you can start cleaning up after your little one is a couple of days. However, it gets a little tricky when you delivered via a C-section.
You shouldn’t be bending right after your c-section because it can put pressure on the incision. And you want to give the area adequate rest since you have just undergone major surgery. In the meantime, you can get someone else to hand you things that have fallen down and avoid incessant standing ups and sit-downs.
Bending involves certain muscles and will stretch your abdominal area which is why you should refrain from it just after the surgery. However, most women can start bending with ease at about three to six weeks after the C-section surgery.
You can speed up the process by performing light exercises. Your doctor should recommend certain exercises that will help with the recovery.
You can start by picking up things from the table or bed that require you to bend slightly. You can also do occasional strolls around the house. This will all help to strengthen your abdominal muscles and get you walking in no time.
Your doctor will advise you on how to care for your stitches when you get home. Make sure to ask for clarifications anywhere you aren’t certain about them. Because this is a really delicate incision and it needs to be delicately cared for.
Here are some tips to follow when caring for the wound area.
- Clean and dry the wound gently every day.
- Wear comfortable cotton underwear.
- If the wound is sore you can take a painkiller like ibuprofen or paracetamol.
- Watch the area for any signs of infections.
You will likely have an appointment with the doctor 5-7 days after the procedure if your stitches are non-dissolvable. You should discuss any concerns you have with them here.
The things you do after your C-section play a major role in how your recovery goes. For one, you need to rest adequately yet move around enough to strengthen your abdominal muscles.
Here are some do’s and dont’s after the cesarean sections.
- Take some time to bond with your baby.
- Reach out to your doctor or lactation consultant if you have trouble breastfeeding.
- Continue to shower as you normally would.
- Hold a pillow over your incision when you want to laugh or cough.
- Lifting things that weigh more than your baby
- Rigorous activity until your doctor gives you the green light
- Have sex until your doctor gives the go-ahead
- Use tampons and douches until you get your doctor’s permission
- Soak in hot tubs
- Climb the stairs repeatedly throughout the day
Generally, there are a few things for you to keep in mind that you may experience after your c-section surgery. When it happens varies among moms but I have talked about the style it usually follows at the start of this article.
Below are some things that are commonly experienced after a C-section delivery
You will likely experience some cramps in your abdominal area following the surgery. These are menstrual cramps that work to close your blood vessels and reduce bleeding. Over-the-counter pain medications can help but you should ask your doctor for permission first.
You may notice some blue or purplish stretch marks across your breasts and skin. This is normal but won’t go away. Instead, it will fade to a white or silver shade. Your hair may also start thinning out in the first 3-4 months. This is due to hormonal changes.
You may notice some vaginal bleeding for the first few weeks after your surgery. This is due to your body’s getting rid of the blood and tissues that kept your baby healthy during the pregnancy. The bleeding should stop with time as the sharpness of the colour fades.
When your breasts are through making the initial colostrum your baby needs, they will swell up with milk. This can make you feel engorged and have tender breasts. You can reduce this by pumping and nursing regularly. Don’t rub your breasts though as this could cause them to produce more milk.
As I said, there is so much bending involved with being a mom especially since your little one will constantly drop things as they age. Now the thing is you just underwent major surgery and need to take it easy. That means no bending for the first few weeks.
You should be able to start bending between three to six weeks after the surgery. Just make sure to consult your doctor first.
When did you start bending after your cesarean section delivery? Did anything help speed up the process? I’d love to know, just drop your answers in the comment section.
- Cleaveland Clinic, (2021, Oct 13). C-Section Recovery Timeline and Aftercare https://health.clevelandclinic.org/c-section-recovery/