Parent Time

Pain Management after a C Section or Child Birth

When you're caring for your newborn baby, the last thing you want to deal with is pain. But childbirth, whether by Cesarean section or not, with or without drugs during labor, can leave a women feeling somewhat less than fresh and lively. Most new mothers feel dragged out, exhausted and sore for weeks after delivery. But take heart; there are some things you can do to minimize pain and soreness.

1. Recovery takes time. In a world where most people get 30 minute lunch breaks, you may feel that you should be able to drop your baby in the next door cubicle and make it back to work in time for the afternoon management meeting. Don't let modern ideas about time management ruin your recovery! Most women need to spend at least a week after childbirth reclining gracefully on the nearest couch. Expect another month of pretty serious soreness: after all, pregnancy stretched and pulled your body into a whole new shape, and labor was just the start of your journey back to your original body.

If you've had a C section, surgery such as episiotomy or any complications, expect at least six weeks of having a tough time lifting things, getting out of bed and climbing stairs. Take as much extra time off from work as you can.

2. Rest. Some people have forgotten what the word means. Rest doesn't just mean staying home from work and having your partner bring home pizza three nights a week. Resting also involves taking naps when your baby is sleeping and spending time with your feet up, not doing laundry or cleaning. Resting helps you heal, which is the process by which pain will diminish and eventually disappear.

3. Pain medication is an option. It's not a popular option, though. You won't find a lot of information on pain management after having a baby, even though it's one of the more painful experiences a person can have. Make sure and ask your doctor about pain medication that won't interfere with nursing if you're breastfeeding your child. Most hospitals tell new moms to take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain, but if you feel they aren't doing the job, call your doctor for something stronger. Don't be a martyr!

4. There are ways to reduce pain without drugs. Ice packs have been recommended because they can reduce swelling, which causes pain. Warm baths are helpful too, and you might try some Epsom salts in the tub. Epsom salts are an old-fashioned but effective method for soothing aches and pains, and will have the benefit of not only calming painful, inflamed skin but also taking the soreness out of muscles and joints. Other pain reducers include the famous rubber donut some people sit on after childbirth or surgery on the posterior. Because pregnancy and childbirth can also bring on hemorrhoids, finding and using a good hemorrhoid ointment may be helpful.

5. Research shows that people who feel happy, calm and loved suffer less pain than those who are unhappy. If you can afford it, or if your friends and family offer assistance, arrange to have someone else do things around the house. Someone else should do the laundry, dishes and dusting—the things that keep a household running. A clean, restful environment will help you relax and keep you from feeling stressed or guilty about not doing housework. If you can arrange to have fresh flowers on your table or happy music playing you to sleep, even better.
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