Caesarean section delivery – What to expect
A Caesarean section is considered to be a major abdominal surgery. This can be conducted as a lifesaving procedure for the baby and the mother at the time of delivery, however, it does carry certain risks and might take longer period for recovery when compared to a normal vaginal delivery. On an average a complete recovery from a cesarean section takes around 6 to 8 weeks. However, not every female is same and hence, there can be certain variations in the recovery period.
In most of the cases a female undergoing a cesarean section will receive an anaesthesia in the form of epidural or spinal block. This form of anaesthesia numbs the lower part of the body but keeps the patient awake. Once the patient receives the anaesthesia she might not be able to walk or move the lower part of a body for certain duration of time. A catheter will be inserted post-delivery in order to help her urinate. In some cases which require general anaesthesia a longer duration may be needed for the patient to regain her senses. She might feel nauseated, anxious and confused while recovering from the anaesthetic effect. Contrary to the common myth, skin to skin contact is possible even after a cesarean section, provided the mother is not suffering from any infection and the baby is doing well.
The initial 24 hours following a cesarean section are almost similar for a caesarean section as for a normal vaginal delivery. The woman undergoes through adjustments to the newly found parenthood, meeting visitors, feeling of exhaustion and tiredness. Caesarean section might require for 2 to 3 days of post-delivery hospitalization. One of the risk factor for Caesarean section is that it can lead to formation of blood clot in the legs, this is likely to develop in people who are overweight or who have not been moving their legs for a long period of time following delivery due to effects of anaesthesia. Hence, the doctor and nurses will encourage the woman to move her legs as soon as possible. Women, who are unable to move their legs or walk for a considerable amount of time, maybe given special cuffs which are designed to ensure movement of blood in the legs to prevent clotting of blood. Pain at the site of incision and uterine cramps are common in the first 24 hours. The sensation is somewhat similar to the one felt during menstruation; however, they are more intense this time. The doctors and nurses will keep a close watch on the possibility of infection, vaginal bleeding will be checked frequently during your hospital stay. The bleeding may last 4 to 6 weeks which is heaviest during the initial few days. Following discharge, special care needs to be taken for the incision wound at home. The risk of infection is very high during the initial period.
Excessive bleeding can be troublesome and calls for immediate medical intervention. Driving or exercising it is not recommended still about 6 to 8 weeks post cesarean section. The incision site may be sore and continue to pain for about the first two weeks. Nowadays, dissolvable stitches are used which do not require removal by the doctor. In case of non-dissolvable stitches being used, it needs to be removed after a few weeks following birth as decided by the doctor.
Recovery might take relatively a longer time. It is recommended that the female takes adequate rest which is extremely vital for complete recovery following the surgery.
Some important do’s and don’ts following c-section are as below
- Take adequate time to bond with your baby
- Take as much rest as possible
- Walk regularly as it will help in preventing clotting of blood and constipation
- Take support of a pillow on the incision site whenever you feel the need to cough
- Take help of a lactation counselor if you have trouble in breastfeeding your baby
- Do not lift objects which weigh heavier than your baby
- Avoid using tampons
- Abstain from intercourse unless advised by the doctor
- Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated
- Have a well-balanced and nutrition rich diet
- Take adequate amount of fibres in your diet
- Avoid crash dieting and talk to your doctor if and when you plan to lose the post pregnancy weight
- Keep the area of incision clean and dry. Wash the area with soapy water and pat it dry after cleaning. If your doctor has used tapes then let them fall on their own, it might take 7 days of time
- Don’t use any soap that can delay the process of wound healing
- Talk to your doctor if feel depressed or have any kind of troubling thoughts
- Notice for signs of pain, swelling, pus, redness or any abnormal form of vaginal discharge, if any, they must be notified to the doctor immediately
- Seek help of family members