Parent Time

Precautions Atfer a Cesarean Section

Around twenty percent of deliveries in the U.S. are by Cesarean, but many women don't know what the process of recovery entails. If you have had a C-section, you may find that caring for yourself and your newborn baby is more work than you'd anticipated. Read on for tips on how to deal with recovering from a Cesarean section.

1. Remember that C-Section is surgery. You're probably not likely to forget, because your aching abdomen will remind you that you've had major surgery. Added on top of the trials of pregnancy, labor and delivery, your body has gone through a lot and needs rest and care. Self care means allowing yourself to rest, preventing pulled stitches and being kind to yourself. Don't expect too much too soon.

2. Expect discomfort. You'll probably get pain medication after surgery, and you'll need to know if you can still nurse your baby then or if you need to rely on formula until the medication is out of your system. Even uncomplicated childbirth is rough on the body, and after having a Cesarean, you're probably going to feel like something that cat dragged in. Consult with your doctor about pain medication and its potential effect on your milk. Start walking around as soon as the nurses tell you that you can (usually around 8 hours after the delivery); it will help prevent blood clots from forming. Expect to feel strained, drained and pained for some weeks. Childbirth might be natural, but nature isn't always kind!

3. Make a contingency plan, even if you expect a normal delivery. If you've had a C-section, you won't be able to go up and down stairs for awhile. You won't be able to lift your baby in and out of the car, or carry a car seat, or do many things you expected to be able to do. Don't try to be Superwoman; remember that there are layers of stitches inside of you and take it easy. Prepare a room downstairs for when you bring your baby home from the hospital. Fix a strap to the foot of the bed so you can haul yourself up with your arms rather than overexerting your abdominal muscles. You might even hire some help for the first couple of weeks.

4. Selfcare includes paying attention to your overall health while you're recovering. C-section usually involves general anesthetic, IV use, catheterization and attendant recovery problems. After a C-section, everything from getting out of bed to learning an effective nursing procedure is up for grabs; if you run a fever, you may have an infection that needs attention. If you have trouble urinating, if you're feverish, in pain or if you're bleeding more than you expected to after coming home, get back to your doctor.

5. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Some new moms are nervous and try to do everything themselves. This not only leads to exhaustion; it prevents partners, other children and happy grandparents from feeding, changing, cooing and otherwise loving your new family addition. Don't expect to do it all yourself. Gratefully accept help, whether it's in the form of a neighborly pot of stew or an offer to babysit while you nap.
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