Nervous about a second c-section? Or is this your first? Make no mistake, a cesarian or a c-section is a major abdominal surgery and you need the best tried and tested recovery tips to bounce back. I had two c-sections within two years and surprisingly, both experiences were unique. Yes, just like every human being is different; every parenting style is different, so will be your experience of pregnancy and childbirth.
Reasons for the C-section
Your pregnancy may end with a c-section birth for these reasons:
- A weird position of the baby/babies.
- Placenta refusing to work as expected.
- Medical reasons such as heart disease, Herpes, Hepatitis-C or HIV.
- Labor taking too long/slow.
- Unsuccessful use of forceps or other instruments during a vaginal birth.
- Umbilical Cord comes out first during a vaginal birth.
- Distressed vaginal labor – this is what happened with me.
How will you feel after a C-Section Delivery?
After C-section, you may spend 2-4 days in the hospital for recovery.
Since c-section is a major surgery, they starve you 4 hours before and after the surgery, but fill you up with fluids. Although the sugars in your body are more or less regulated with the fluids, your mouth is dry as a desert. My first c-section night was full of acidity terrors. Apparently, they forgot to give me an antacid before the surgery. With a spinal anesthesia or an epidural (which is also administered in the spine), you have to lay down straight for 12 hours, after the surgery. No sitting or turning on the side for 12 hours! This may trouble you for breastfeeding on the first day, but it’s not impossible.You can successfully breastfeed from DAY 1, within the hour of surgery even! The nurses change the baby’s diapers, so all you have to do is lie down, rest and breastfeed. That’s your only job 🙂
You may feel a little apprehensive about your stitches bursting open if you moved even a teeny bit, but that’s just all in your head. Don’t give into those fears. An upbeat, smiling, and encouraging physiotherapist may guide and help you with –
- How to turn on your side
- Get up off the bed
- Get back on the bed
- Lie down
- Walk a couple of steps
- Exercises for your toes and legs – to do them every hour while you lay on the bed.
Do it all successfully on Day 2 and save up on the hospital bills because now you have the right to get yourself and your baby discharged – provided your baby is healthy and doing well. Furthermore, else you can continue your stay and the nurses will help you take your pain medications on time, you will have great meals at the (great) hospital.
That’s how I was Discharged on Day 2… and more
Since I knew what to expect with my second c-section, I was mentally prepared to win the battle of DAY 2. With a crazy credit card debt, we had no savings. Heck, we don’t even have any bank balance left by week 3 of the month, most times. So it was crucial that we spend the exact amount what we were insured for the c-section surgery.
That’s why I prayed to Jesus that since the insurance allowance of INR 80k is all we have, please help us stick to that budget… somehow. You guide me Lord, and I will follow. You know what? Jesus healed me quickly, made me walk tall and be comfortable in my surgery stitches on Day 2. I won’t take the credit for being discharged on DAY 2 – It was all God’s work. You know what the hospital bill was? It was INR 80.004k! Jesus Saves.
Recovery during the First Few Days
- Day 1 you are on a liquid diet.
- The next day you progress to semi-solid and then solid food.
- Day 3 time to take the tube out of your pee-pee, walk independently and take your first dump. Oh, how glorious that first dump would be!
- Day 4 pack up and leave! … unless advised otherwise.
- Put both your hands on your c-section scar area, every time you laugh, sneeze or walk.
- Faint Period-like bleeding, but not as heavy like that in a vaginal birth experience.
C-Section Recovery after You leave the hospital
You will need plenty of rest – that doesn’t necessarily mean sleep all day, but you can laze around. Don’t get back to your daily chores at once; enjoy your baby while you nurse and recover. A rich healthy diet and plenty of rest help to keep away the baby blues.
- You have to know what postpartum depression feels like, also.
- Remove the dressing from your c-section scar within 10 days.
- Expect light bleeding for about a month – if it’s heavy bleeding then inform your doctor at once.
- Mood Swings. You thought PMS or being pregnant gave you terrible mood swings? Wait until after childbirth. Wink.
How Active Should You Be after C-section surgery?
Traditionally, you won’t be allowed by good-intentioned family members to step out for a month or more. I would say, listen to your body, if you feel like going out for a walk, do it. You feel like being alone in your room, do that. Want to see your friends? Call them over or go see them! If you want to recover soon and get back to normal life, you need to pray that God gives you the strength, and the will, to do it. Push yourself but not too hard.
Feeling emotionally overwhelmed to be around many people.
All the hustle and bustle with the neighbors, the friends, their kids, their questions, the smiling the nodding, the retelling of the birth story over and over again was overwhelming for me. That’s when I realized there could be some truth to what the elders were saying. Some said not to step outside because your body is vulnerable to “evil spirits” Yeah Right. Jesus protects me. Fudge You, Evil Spirits.
A quiet walk, fresh air, did me a lot of good just a week or so after c-section surgery. I took my new baby out too. Babywearing saves your sanity! Make sure your baby and you are dressed right for the weather.
Feeling physically taxed to be out and about.
Breastfeeding burns 300-600 calories a day. So add that with a stroll around the park or the mall, and it can get very tiring for you. So give yourself some space and time to recover right after childbirth.
My Second C-Section Compared To First
It was a better experience, much better compared to the first c-section because of all the knowledge and research. My planned second c-section wasn’t as traumatic as the last emergency c-section had been. Read my c-section experience story to know more. I knew the date and time and I was mentally and physically prepared for it. The recovery time was shorter, so short I was discharged on Day 2!
C-Section Recovery Tips
- Make sure you get an antacid before the surgery – so you don’t get painful acidity after.
- Wear a tummy tucking belt from Day 2 and wear it as long as you can (except during meals and bath time). I didn’t bother with one after my first c-section and my belly remained big and flabby throughout the year! My baby belly #2 is going down surprisingly fast with a belt this time. Yay.
- Get up and walk with the heads up by your physiotherapist and doctor. You need the movement to help you recover faster, laying there like a dead duck is not going to help you at all.
- Drink and sip on warm water. For the simple reason, that warm water never satisfies your thirst (like cold water does!) and you end up drinking more water. Drinking a lot of water is great for c-section recovery, breastfeeding and even otherwise.
- Eat 3 full meals and 2 snacks, a day.
- Consume hot and soft foods for the first month, at least. It’s comforting and healing.
- Take your painkillers on time. I missed mine a few times right after I came home and that was a terrible, terrible mistake.
- Take your vitamins – especially calcium and iron. You need them, particularly if you are breastfeeding.
- Have soup – at least for the first 21 days. It’s comforting and nutritious as well.
- Listen to your body and your intuitions MORE than what your mother or anyone else tells you.
How about you? Have any tips or lessons of your own to share about c-section recovery? I’d love to start chatting in the comments of this article.