How to recover from a cesarean?

About 1/3 of newborns are delivered by cesarean section. This is when the baby comes out through a cut in the mother's womb and uterus rather than going through the birth canal and out through the vagina. Afterwards, you can expect to spend 2 to 3 days in the hospital with your new baby while you recover.

Most women are awake for Caesarean section, and you should be able to hold your baby immediately. You will be taken to a recovery room, where nurses will check your blood pressure, heartbeat, and breathing, and monitor you.

You may feel upset, groggy, or itchy from the medicines used to numb you during the operation. You may be given a pump so that you can change the amount of pain reliever that passes through a thin tube into your veins.

After the operation

In the days following the procedure, you can expect:

- Vaginal discharge: You will probably have vaginal bleeding for several weeks after giving birth. This is how your body gets rid of the extra tissue and blood in your uterus that kept your baby healthy during pregnancy. For the first few days, you will see bright red blood that will gradually clear up, turning pink, then brown, then yellow or clear before stopping.
- Post-operative pain: It is normal to have things that look like period cramps for a few days after giving birth. They narrow the blood vessels in your uterus to help keep you from bleeding too much. Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Swelling and pain in the breasts: For the first 3-4 days after giving birth, your breasts make something called colostrum, a nutrient-dense substance that helps strengthen your baby's immune system. After that, your breasts will swell as they fill with milk. You can help relieve sensitivity by breastfeeding or pumping and putting cold washcloths on your breasts between feedings. If you are not breastfeeding, wear a firm, supportive bra, and do not rub your breasts - this will make them make more milk.
- Changes in hair and skin: You may notice your hair thinning in the first 3 to 4 months. This is completely normal. It is caused by a change in hormone levels. (When you were pregnant, high levels of hormones made your hair grow faster and reduce hair loss.) You may also see red or purple stretch marks on your stomach and breasts. They won't go away, but they will fade into silver or white.
- Feeling blue: After you bring your baby home, you may experience an emotional roller coaster. You might feel worried, anxious, or very tired during the first few weeks of motherhood. Called the “baby blues”, it comes from hormonal changes. If you feel this way for more than a few weeks, call your doctor. You may have postpartum depression, a more serious condition that affects about 15 % of new mothers. Talk therapy or antidepressants can usually help.

The area around any stitches, staples, or duct tape on your stomach will be sore for the first few days. Keep it clean to prevent infections. There are a few other things you can do to speed up your recovery:

- Take it easy. A cesarean is a major operation. Do not lift anything heavier than your baby for the first two weeks and keep everything you may need close at hand.
- Support your stomach. Hold your stomach when you sneeze, cough, or laugh to keep it still. .
- Relieve your pain. A heating pad (placed on the bottom) or a warm washcloth can help relieve pain around your belly. You may also need ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen, or other pain relievers. Most are safe to take if you are breast-feeding.
- Drink fluids. You will need to replace the water you lost during childbirth and what you lose if you are breastfeeding your baby.

You can start breastfeeding almost immediately. Your body will produce milk about as quickly as after a vaginal birth.

Here is what you need to know

Medicines:You have probably had painkillers, such as an epidural, during your cesarean, but it is unlikely that it will affect the baby much.She might be a little sleepy, but it should pass and she should be eager to breastfeed.You may be tempted to ask your doctor to lower your dose of pain relievers, but it is important that you stay comfortable.Pain can interfere with the hormone that helps you produce milk.If you have any questions about how the medications you are given may affect breastfeeding, ask to speak to the breastfeeding specialist at the hospital.

Surgery can make it difficult to find a comfortable position to breastfeed your baby. You can put a pillow on your stomach to lighten your baby's weight, or try this:

- Football hold: Squeeze your baby's neck in the palm of your hand, and rest his back on your forearm. Bend her feet and legs under your arm, then lift her up to your chest.
- Side click: Lie down facing your baby and use your hand to bring your nipple to her lips. You can place a pillow behind its back to prevent it from rolling over.

It is important to get out of bed and walk within 24 hours of the operation. It can help relieve gas pain, help you have a bowel movement, and prevent blood clots.
Try not to do too much housework or other activities for the first two weeks, and wait 4-6 weeks before doing heavy exercises that affect your stomach. Get your doctor's approval before having sex again.

You can try gentle exercises a few days after the cesarean

- Deep breathing: Breathe slowly and deeply every half hour. It can help prevent chest congestion from sitting in bed so often.
- Shoulder circling: Sit up straight and roll your shoulders 20 times back and forth every hour to help with stiffness.
- Gentle stretch: Stand against a wall and slowly raise both arms above your head until you feel the muscles in your stomach stretch. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then relax. You can do this up to 10 times a day to increase flexibility around your stitches.

When you get home, check your surgery site regularly for any signs of infection. Tell your doctor if:
- The area is red, swollen, swollen, painful or hot. The area is hot.
- You have a high fever.
- You have a lot of vaginal bleeding, or it smells bad.

You will probably see your doctor about 6 weeks after giving birth, and they will check your vagina, cervix and uterus, as well as your weight and blood pressure.

New: read our file co-sleeping cradle before you go to the store!