how to recover after c-section surgery

Whenever possible, we support a vaginal birth as long as it is a viable, healthy option for both mother and baby. We work very closely with our patients and the labor and delivery care team at WakeMed, and we are pleased to say that most women who come to us seeking a vaginal birth are able to safely do so.  We also have a high success rate for women who want to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean section.

However, in some cases, a C-section may be necessary.  We evaluate each birth experience based upon the unique needs of mother and baby. Some of the reasons we may consider a C-section are:

  • If the contractions don’t open the cervix enough to allow the baby to safely move into the vagina
  • If you are having twins and they are being born too early or are not in a good position to be delivered safely vaginally
  • If you have a fibroid that is blocking the birth canal
  • If you have a prolapsed umbilical cord
  • If there are problems with the placenta
  • If fetal monitoring detects a problem with baby’s heart rate or other complications
  • If you have an infection such as HIV or active genital herpes

If you need more information on C-section surgery, you can find it from the the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or the Mayo Clinic

What can I expect after a C-Section Surgery?

You may experience cramping and pain in the incision area. It’s also not unusual to experience discharge and bleeding with clots. While you may have expected these discomforts, did you know laughing can also be uncomfortable? Sometimes recovery may feature unexpected elements, so we wanted to offer these 5 tips for recovering after your procedure.

5 Tips for Recovering After a C-Section 

1. Use a pillow for support when coughing or laughing.

After surgery, it will be uncomfortable to cough, laugh, or do anything that requires your abdominal muscles. Therefore, we recommend taking a pillow and providing support to your abdomen when you need it.

2. Manage your pain

You will be given pain medications in the hospital, and we’ll provide important information and medication to help you manage your discomfort at home. Remember that it’s often best to take the medication at the first signs of pain instead of “toughing it out” and waiting for when it is more difficult to control.

3. Limit your activities—but not too much

Most likely, your nurse helped you walk and get to the bathroom after you had your C-section while you were still in the hospital. It’s important to rest and limit strenuous activities and heavy lifting during your recovery, but you don’t want to go to the opposite extreme and stay in bed all day. Walking and movement is a vital part of your recovery process, and it helps improve your circulation.

We realize that every procedure is different, so we’ll discuss when it is appropriate for you to continue with activities such as sex and exercise.

4. Limit your visitors

When you bring your bundle of joy home, you’re little one is likely to have a very busy social calendar. While everyone wants to see the baby as soon as possible, keep in mind that a large number of visitors may not be exactly what you need during this time---unless they are willing to take diaper duty! Feel free to limit the number of social calls you receive.

5. Don’t compare your recovery to others

Perhaps your sister or best friend recovered quickly from their C-sections and had minimal pain and cramping. That’s wonderful news, but you shouldn’t compare your healing process to theirs. Everyone’s body recovers at a different rate, and the most important thing for you to remember is to follow our instructions and give yourself time to rest. Comparisons may only frustrate you and cause unwanted stress. It isn’t a competition.  If you do have concerns about your progress, you can speak with us and we’ll be more than happy to help you.

We’re partners in your care

The United States Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has outlined a series of goals designed to promote better health for women and infants. As a part of this initiative, one of the goals is to reduce the number of C-sections to 23.9% among women who have low-risk pregnancies.

A health care monitoring group called Leapfrog recently surveyed 1,380 hospitals to see how well they met that goal. You’ll find that WakeMed Raleigh (that’s us!) measured at 14.7%, well exceeding the goal. (You can read more about how area hospitals stacked up in our previous blog post.)

Why is this important?

Because it demonstrates that our philosophy of care is truly patient-centered, and we are dedicated to going above and beyond to provide the best care in the area. While we support vaginal deliveries, there are some cases in which a C-section may be necessary. If you have questions, please schedule an appointment, as we are happy to help. 


Kamm McKenzie OBGYN offers a full range of women’s healthcare services for women of all ages. Since 1976, we have been caring for women by providing general and specialized gynecologic and obstetric care. We have two Raleigh locations to serve you: one on Computer Drive and one on Durant Road. 


Sources:

American College of Obstitricians and Gynecologists. “Information for Patients: FAQ”

https://www.acog.org/-/media/For-Patients/faq006.pdf

The Mayo Clinic. “Procedures: C-section.” Online.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/c-section/about/pac-20393655