What to Expect in Recovery From a C-Section

Did you know that almost 1.2 million babies enter the world by Cesarean section (C-section) every year? That makes up nearly one-third of all births in the United States. Some of these deliveries are planned C-sections, but others are decided during labor to protect the health and well-being of the baby and mom. 

Some reasons a C-section may be necessary include:

At Kelly Morales, OB/GYN, Dr. Morales uses her skill as a board-certified OB/GYN to offer gentle C-sections, when necessary, to patients in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Morales uses this approach to provide a C-section experience that mimics the nurturing effects of childbirth.

Whether you have a C-section scheduled or not, you’ll feel more prepared by learning what to expect when recovering from this procedure.

Recovering from a C-section

Like a traditional C-section, a gentle C-section is major surgery. Your body needs time to recover — both from the surgery and the experience of giving birth. It’s important to be kind to yourself and allow your body to heal. 

Here’s what you can expect:

You’ll need more rest

While you’re still in the hospital, the nursing staff helps care for you and your baby. Be sure to take advantage of this before heading home, and rest as much as you can in the hospital. Getting plenty of rest is one of the best ways to help your body heal — especially in the early days after surgery. 

At home, be sure to continue resting as much as possible. Sleep when your baby naps when you can, and ask for help with housework and other chores so your body can heal. 

Once you’re home, be sure to minimize your physical activity and don’t lift anything heavier than your newborn for about six weeks. This helps ensure your incision heals properly and you don’t cause any damage to the surgical site. 

While gentle walking is encouraged, wait for Dr. Morales to give you the green light for returning to normal activities, like exercise, driving, and going back to work. 

You’ll have some discomfort and pain

Pain and discomfort after major surgery, like a C-section, are normal. To help control your pain, you can expect to get intravenous or oral pain medication during your hospital stay. Before you’re discharged, Dr. Morales discusses a pain management plan for your at-home recovery. 

Once you’re home, be sure to stay on top of your pain to keep it under control. Managing your pain helps prevent added stress and helps keep inflammation down. Most of the time, women can manage their pain with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. 

Some women experience pain when having a bowel movement or making sudden movements, like coughing or sneezing. You can take a stool softener to help make trips to the bathroom easier, and know a twinge of pain when you sneeze or cough is normal.

You’ll need to pay attention to your incision

After a C-section, it’s important to keep an eye on your incision for signs of infection. If you notice discoloration, swelling, pus, a sensation of warmth, or an increase in pain, call Dr. Morales to check for infection. 

Once you can remove the bandaging, be sure to wash the incision site gently with soap and water. You’ll also need to avoid being submerged in hot tubs, baths, and swimming pools until after your provider gives you the okay. Know that it’s normal to feel itchiness and a sensation of nerve prickling around the incision site for months. 

You’ll have normal afterbirth symptoms 

Even though you didn’t give birth vaginally, your uterus will still contract as it returns to its normal size. That means you’ll feel some abdominal cramping, which is normal, and have some bleeding and vaginal discharge. 

You’ll also experience the things all new mothers do after giving birth. These may include symptoms like:

If you have more questions about recovering from a C-section, contact the team at Kelly Morales OB/GYN in San Antonio, Texas. You can reach us by calling 210-570-7277 to schedule an appointment.

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