C-Section Recovery: Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Advances in medical technology, like the cesarean section, has made labor and delivery much safer for moms, saving the lives of many. They have hit an all-time high of about 30% in the United States in recent years -why is it so popular now? Here’s a Q&A on how life is like after doing a caesarean section and how long recovery will take.

From C-section to discharge from hospital

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How long will I be hospitalized and when can I be discharged?

Checking yourself into the hospital or birthing center before your C-section is scheduled to take place can be as short as two hours prior to the surgery. However, the stay in the hospital after the C-section can be as long as 2 to 4 days.

Pain after the C-section

Once the surgery is complete, you might have slight or severe afterpains – the pains felt when your uterus contracts towards its nonpregnant size. However, once you get permission from your doctor, moving around will help your uterus return to its nonpregnant size more quickly.

So it can be a good idea to wake up early and do very light walking as far as you feel comfortable. If you need, you can take painkillers before light exercises.

Taking sutures out

Taking the sutures out might be painful. However, if you’re really averse to pain and want an as-painless-as-possible post C-section, you might want to consider asking for dissolvable or absorbable stitches, or tapes.

How long will C-section recovery take?

How long you take to completely heal depends on whether your incision was horizontal or vertical. It usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks for you to recuperate from the discomforts felt after surgery, about 3 months for the red line to fade to a less eye-catching red, and about a few years for it to become almost invisible.

From when can I use the postpartum girdle?

Moms who undergo a C-section may feel the joints in their pelvis get loose like moms who have a vaginal birth do. A postpartum girdle will help you in the process of getting your pre-pregnancy form back, but make sure to choose a belt that doesn’t interfere with the healing of the incision.

Advanced maternal age means longer C-section recovery?

When maternal age increases, the body is physiologically older. However, an advanced maternal age doesn’t necessarily mean longer C-section recovery. How much time it takes for C-section recovery varies from person to person, but a difficult pregnancy is likely to need more time for the recovery.

Raising a baby after C-section recovery

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Will I be able to breastfeed?

Yes, you can! Breastmilk is produced in your body because of the hormonal changes after the placenta is expelled. Even if you had a C-section, your body will start producing milk and you can breastfeed.

Will I have maternal instincts?

But of course! The incisions on your belly is hurting, right? The months you spent carrying your baby isn’t any different from other moms – it was full of happiness, trials and tribulations. After that long arduous journey, who has the right to question your position as a mother! Have confidence, and let your maternal instincts materialize when they do.

Life after C-section recovery

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Can I have more babies after C-section recovery?

If you’re already in the next stage of your family and plan to have another baby soon, hold your horses! You might want to do a checkup, so wait for a month or two. This is because a C-section means that your belly and uterus were cut open.

Bleeding or infections can occur, so wait a while and let your body heal. Even in a vaginal delivery, it’s best to create the next addition to the family sometime after the delivery as it takes time for the uterus and vagina to heal.

When should I get pregnant again?

Wait at least a year, though the ideal interval between pregnancies is about 2 years. This is to allow your uterus to heal. You might want to have a chat with your practitioner and consider contraceptives for the time being.

Is a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) really okay?

VBAC refers to having a vaginal birth after you have had a cesarean section done the last time you were pregnant. Once you have a C-section done, the walls of the uterus become thinner and the incision made to the uterus could result in the rupture of the uterus when a vaginal birth is attempted.

In many cases, a C-section will be recommended to expecting moms with a history of C-section. VBAC is also possible, but there are risks, so you have to talk to your practitioner in depth about this before you make a decision.

How many times can I have a C-section?

This depends on the condition of the mom and also the hospital’s stance on C-sections. There is no set limit to the number of times you can have a C-section; it could be as many as 3, 4…or more if that’s how many children you want to have.

However, the more C-sections you have, the higher the risk of getting placenta accreta gets. Placenta accreta is the condition in which part of or the entire placenta becomes inseparable from the uterine wall.

Go at your own pace while on the road to C-section recovery

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C-section recovery depends on your physical condition and your mental health as well. Although the labor and delivery might zap all the energy out of you, remember that your baby is depending on you. When you’re on the road to C-section recovery, go at your own pace!