A cesarean section is performed for a variety of reasons. The baby may be in distress. The baby may also be too big to be delivered the traditional way. You and your doctor will discuss the option long before it becomes a reality.
A c-section involves an incision into the abdominal cavity. Your uterus is opened and the baby is removed. Your wound is closed and you are done.
In the Hospital
Recovery takes longer for a surgical delivery. Expect to be out of work for at least six weeks. The typical hospital stay is about four days. Doctors and nurses will check on your closely for the first 24 hours to check for any complications.
You may be asked to get up and walk within that first day after delivery. Don’t worry. You will still have your IV and pain meds should you need them.
While you are in the hospital your wound will be checked periodically for problems. You may ooze from your incision but any heavy bleeding is a cause for concern. The doctor may need to place an additional suture or use electrocautery to stop the bleeding.
Before you leave with your new baby, the doctor will give you post-surgery instructions. It will detail what you need to watch out for as you recover, what you can do, any restrictions on activity and how to care for your surgical incision.
As far as activity goes, all heavy lifting is out until you see your doctor again for your postpartum visit and he checks your wound. Lifting your baby is as heavy as it gets.
Try to eat a sensible diet. This will help your bowels to move and prevent constipation. Straining is not good after a cesarean section as it could rupture stitches. Also, if you are breastfeeding, you will want to keep your strength and your milk supply up.
Check your wound. If you notice any foul odor or gaps between skin edges, call your doctor right away. Odor can be a sign of an infection in progress. As long as the wound stays covered, you can shower. Pat it dry afterwards.
Expect vaginal discharge. This may go on for weeks but the bleeding should get lighter over time. Any heavy bleeding or blood clots need to be reported to your doctor.
Avoid sexual activity until your doctor says it is okay. Any straining, stretching or bending can open your wound if it is not fully healed.
Learn what to expect after a cesarean section. Plan for help in your home until you are fully recovered.