Having a c-section can be a traumatic experience for many women. But this is supposed to be a joyous time– you have a new baby! So stop worrying, and know that you can recover from a c-section quicker than you think. I may not be a doctor, but I’ve been there, and I can tell you from experience what it was like.
So your body’s just been through a major surgery. Don’t expect to feel in tip-top shape the next day. Try to stay one step ahead of your pain. You’re going to feel general abdominal soreness and pain around the incision area, so take your pain medication and don’t wait for pain to set in first. Give yourself time to rest. I know this is easier said than done with a new baby, but solicit help from friends and family if you can. Try to limit going up and down stairs. When my son was born he was over 9 pounds (gasp! It’s true!). It was so difficult to hold him after the c-section, because the sheer weight of him put stress on my incision area. So I tried to hold him while sitting down as much as I could.
This sounds like such an obvious suggestion, but it really does help. Your body has just been through a major trauma, so think of it as “refueling.” I was fortunate enough to receive some delicious baskets from Edible Arrangements. The fresh fruit tasted so good! So remember to eat the foods that will bring your body back to life.
Get Some Rest
Easier said than done, right? Well, I can tell you the mistakes that I made. Number one was that I left the hospital early because I felt great. But I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be just to roll out of bed at home (very different than a hospital bed with arm rails and supports!). Even going to the bathroom was a challenge, since the hospital toilet was high with rail supports, too! So stay in the hospital for your full recovery time, even if you hate being there! Once you’re home, take naps when you can. My second mistake was feeling like I shouldn’t nap. I wanted to stay awake and watch my baby, even when he was sleeping.
Build Your Stamina
I know I said to get your rest, but it’s okay to walk around a bit when you feel up to it. Walk slowly, and build up your stamina around the house. Avoid lifting anything heavy, but do move around a little bit on your feet when you feel strong enough.
Take Care of Yourself
Follow the doctor’s advice for wound care. Keep your follow-up appointments. You might not think this matters, but it’s important to take care of yourself and recognize if something is wrong. Shortly after my c-section, I developed an incision infection. This happened through no fault of my own, but had I not noticed the signs, I could have become a lot sicker. Contact your doctor if you develop a fever, or if your incision area becomes puffy or hot to the touch.
Be kind to yourself after your c-section. It’s an emotional time, and can be very stressful. It’s okay to get upset, it’s okay to feel icky. Just know that you will recover, if you just give yourself some time.
Related Articles by Deborah Zelasny:
Quick Tips for Getting Baby to Sleep
Should You Be a Stay-at-Home Mom?