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Heal the proper way after a C-Section

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Dr. Manu Lakshmi

24 Mar 2022

C section delivery needs extra precautions and more time than normal delivery to recover from childbirth. A full recovery from C section is expected to take 4 to 6 weeks. Though C sections are common, they involve major stomach surgery that are opted as a lifesaving procedure for both the mother and baby. It is important to note that each mothers journey is different after delivery. A C section can carry risks and can have a big impact on a mother’s mental and physical health in the weeks after the delivery. Every mother heals at different rates so it is important to take enough rest even if it may take a long while for some women to recover from afterwards. A supportive medical team at the best hospital for gynaecology, along with self-care and setting reasonable expectation can make the recovery from a C section faster and easier.

Rest in the hospital after C section delivery

C-section is usually performed under an epidural or spinal anaesthesia. This form of block numbs the body to facilitate surgery but still allows the person to be awake. It can take several hours to regain feelings in the numbed parts after an epidural. Unlike a normal delivery where the baby passes through the birth canal and comes out through the vagina, in C section, the baby is delivered through a cut in the mother’s belly and uterus. An incision made during the C section delivery is typically a horizontal cut made in the lower abdomen that can take weeks to heal. To walk or using the bathroom without assistance will not be possible during this immediate postoperative period. A catheter is usually attached for several hours after delivery to help urinate for most women. Waking up takes longer time in women who needed general anaesthesia. As a woman comes out of anaesthesia, she may feel groggy, nauseated, afraid, or confused. Gentle C section deliveries are offered in many hospitals for new parents where the most significant concern is their baby. If the baby is doing well, the baby is left to rest on the mother’s chest till the C section is complete. This may be communicated to the gynaecologist as an option most importantly before the surgery. A C section for most women will need two to four days in the hospital. Resting period in the hospital includes pain management, nutritious food and fluid intake and help in moving around. All this is in addition to bonding with the new born, most importantly breast feeding.

Rest during first few weeks after C section delivery

Abdominal muscles become quite weak because of the incision and hence it is important to take rest and restrain from movements that can put pressure on the abdomen like lifting or twisting after returning home. Routine fitness/strengthening exercises and also driving should be avoided for up to 6 weeks. A wide compression belt or an abdominal binder worn around the waist can offer additional support to the muscles and avoid undue stress on sutures. A C-section is normally followed by vaginal bleeding for 4 to 6 weeks postpartum though the flow is typically not as heavy as after a vaginal delivery. The first few days may be heavy bleeding generally with passing of big sized blood clots. Dangerous bleeding, which is known as a haemorrhage, is more likely during this time. Soaking one maxi pad per hour or passing huge clots need to be reported to the gynaecologist. The key for recovery is to have a sound support system around the house. The partner, family members or friends can help with daily chores such as planning and preparing meals, doing laundry and even help in taking care of the baby. However, it is not recommended to keep lying in bed for more than few days. Being up and walking around now and then can help avoid post-surgical blood clots. The risk of infection is highest during the first few weeks, so the incision has to be kept clean and dry. The first postpartum visit usually happens during the second week. At that time, the best gynaecologist doctor in Chennai will inspect the incision site and check if the recovery is progressing the right way. In case of excessive pain, signs of infection at the incision site, abnormal discharge, heavy bleeding, chest pain, shortness of breath, fever or pain and swelling in legs, it is necessary to reach out to the doctor earlier.

Rest during later weeks of C section delivery

Recovering from a C-section takes time and may take longer than it was expected. The wound may feel sore for few more weeks and symptoms get better as the incision heals and the uterus contracts. If dissolvable stitches were used for suture, they will disappear, without the need for removing them, whereas, non-dissolvable stitches may need to be removed by the doctor, a few weeks after delivery. Muscle or incision pain may be experienced for several months by some women. Weakened pelvic floor muscles may lead to urinary incontinence. With underlying health problems, such as diabetes, the recovery time may be even longer. These challenges may seem common but women should not ignore them. Another appointment with the doctor may be needed even if it is soon after the first post-partum visit if unpleasant symptoms develop thereafter. A specialist like the pelvic floor or exercise therapist, can help with faster recovery and in the long-term wellness of the mother. A C section is more often linked to mothers with difficulties in breastfeeding. Some women may need help with breast feeding. Successful breastfeeding in spite of certain obstacles, such as being separated from the baby after C section can be achieved through guidance from a lactation consultant. The mother needs enough rest and nutrition to stay healthy in order to nurse the baby for a minimum of 6 months. While most women are ready to start office work in 3 months, others may take longer after a C section. A discussion with the gynaecologist at the best gynaecologist hospital in Chennai can help be prepared for any challenges.

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