Having a new baby is one of life's most exciting and joyful events. However the Postpartum period - days following the birth of your baby can be more challenging for a mom who has undergone a cesarean delivery.
There are many reasons to deliver a baby by Cesarean section, such as abnormal position of the baby, or abnormalities of the placenta and umbilical cord. Cesarean birth puts additional demands on your body and recovery. Your stay in the hospital will be a day or two longer. You should take an extra care after cesarean.
The recovery from Cesarean section involves recovering from abdominal surgery plus recovering from childbirth. After cesarean, it is even more important to get rest and take good care of yourself.
Breastfeeding after a cesarean birth
Cesarean birth does not obstruct with your ability to produce milk. Certain breastfeeding positions will be more comfortable, such as lying on your side, the football hold or sitting with a pillow cushioning your incision.
Do consult your doctor for suggestions. You should let your baby become used to your touch, smell and the feel of your breast. Continue to offer your breast every two hours. Stimulate your baby by moving his/her arms and legs, or stroking their face and breastfeed is always the best option if possible.
Before leaving the hospital: You should try and start going to bathroom within the 24 hrs after surgery. This will help start the healing process and get you used to moving around with your stitches. Remember to move slowly because you may experience dizziness or shortness of breath. Urinating after the catheter is removed can sometimes be painful. So consult your doctor or nurse to suggest the easy way.
Your uterus will begin the "involution" process, which is when it is shrinking down to its pre-pregnancy size. You may begin to experience heavy bleeding of bright red blood-this is called lochia and it can continue for up to 6 weeks. You will need to have extra absorbent menstrual pads. The hospital should provide you with special pads used by new moms after delivery.
After going home: Once you are home try to rest as much as possible the first few weeks. Be easy on yourself. This would include not lifting anything heavier than your baby. Remember that you are recovering from birth, major abdominal surgery and adjusting to life with a newborn!
Let others take care of household chores and other duties. Take naps when the baby sleeps. Make sure you are getting plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated and eat healthy meals to restore energy and prevent constipation. The more rest you get during the initial recovery period, the faster you will feel better. It takes time for your abdominal muscles to regain their strength and flexibility.
Things to avoid: You should not drive for at least two weeks. Before you can drive again, you must be physically capable of controlling your vehicle, and you cannot be using any pain medication containing narcotics.
Avoid taking baths until your incision is healed and you are no longer bleeding. You should also avoid public pools and hot tubs. Don't exercise until your doctor says it's safe. Don't use stairs repeatedly. Even sexual intercourse showed be haltered until your health care provider says it is safe.
Emotional recovery: The emotional response to cesarean is quite variable. Some women feel purely glad to have their baby, while many others feel deep disappointment as they are deprived of a "normal" childbirth experience. It is normal to have any or all of these feelings. You should discuss your feelings with your doctor or seek professional counseling, so that you can deal with any negative feelings you may have toward your childbirth experience.
The recovery from Cesarean section involves recovering from abdominal surgery plus recovering from childbirth. After cesarean, it is even more important to get rest and take good care of yourself. Don't forget to call your doctor if you have Fever of over 100.4 degrees F, feeling anxious, panicky, and/or depressed, bright red bleeding, redness, swelling or separation of tissue in your incision.
Always remember you can only take good care of your baby only when you are healthy both inside and out.
(Sources: americanpregnancy.org, babies.sutterhealth.org)