Let me tell you something! I had given birth to my son through a C-section, and it was my choice. I wanted to have a C-section, because I am so afraid of the feeling of pain. I still am. Was I prepared for this procedure and the period that followed? Of course I was. And a good way to be prepared for something is if you already know what will happen, and know the steps. So, if you know you will have a C-section, try and speak with your doctor about the steps of the procedure. It's good to know what will happen that day. You will feel less anxious if you already know what’s coming.
You will also need to know what you can and can’t do after your C-section. After all, it is a major abdominal surgery, and you have to be careful. Some women feel better after one week since their C-section, but that doesn’t mean they are completely healed. You have to remember you’re still healing on the inside.
A lot of questions about the recovery process may form in your mind right now. How much discomfort will I experience? When will I be able to resume my exercises? When can I get pregnant again? These are some of the things that you should consider after giving birth through a cesarean.
Full recovery can take up to six weeks for an uncomplicated cesarean. there are some activities that you can return to after a longer time. Let’s explore together what you can do after having a cesarean, and when. And remember, if you have any questions about what you can and can’t do, please ask your doctor.
15 Start Breastfeeding
If you receive an epidural for your C-section, the very first thing you can do after your operation is breastfeed your baby. This is definitely a very important thing, if you were planning on breastfeeding. Most cesareans are now performed with an epidural, rather than a general anesthetic. This means you'll be able to breastfeed right after birth. An important thing is that you’ll need help for your first latch-on. Ask a nurse, a doula, or even your husband to help you and support the baby. If you’re having problems with breastfeeding, request a lactation consultant.
You’re going to be extra careful with your tummy now that you’ve had a cesarean. Holding your baby into your arms may be too much for you. One of the things you can do is try to breastfeed while lying down. The nurse, or the lactation consultant may help you with the easiest position so you’ll be able to breastfeed your baby.
14 Start Walking
As easy as it may seem, a cesarean is still an operation, and it needs time to heal, more than a natural birth. But there are ways to speed up your healing, and one of them is by walking. As soon as your doctor says it is ok, start moving. This usually happens after 24 hours from the delivery of your baby. Be careful and move very slow. You can walk in your room, or go down the hallway and look at the babies in the nursery. Right after your slow walk get back in your room and get some rest. It isn’t like your usual walk in the park, but by moving little by little you can help your body heal faster.
A quick tip would be to start by walking a very small distance the first day. Then little by little increase the amount you walk. Also, it is very important that you try to walk each day. Moving every day boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia. It also helps with constipation and blood clots. It may feel uncomfortable and painful at first, but the pain will decrease with each day that follows.
13 Go #2
I remember that one of the major problems after my C-section was pooping. The thing is that most hospitals won't discharge you until you have a bowel movement. Of course my doctor also told me I had to poop before I go home. So this was one of my goals in the three days that I stayed in the hospital after giving birth.
The pain meds can make you very constipated. I remember that my nurse suggested that I take a stool softener. This can help you get into pooping-mode again. Another great advice is to drink lots of water. Moving around also keeps your bowels active, even if you take a little walk to the bathroom and back.
If you finally feel the need to poop, I can also tell you that it is tough to push when you have a tender and sore abdomen. Even if you feel some pressure on your operation while you poop, you don’t have to be afraid of opening your incision.
12 Take A Shower
I imagine you have many questions regarding whether or not to bathe after having a cesarean, and how soon can you do it. You may also wonder if you’ll need someone to help you, and if you can get the incision wet. The most important thing is to not take a bath.
Once you’ll be able to stand by yourself, you’ll be able to take a shower. This may mean a couple of days. If getting out of bed and moving around is the hard part, taking a shower is the easiest. The first couple of times you shower you may need some help. Ask a nurse, or even your husband to help. You will definitely need help washing your hair, as bending over and getting back up may hurt.
The important thing is that you can get your incision wet, but be careful when you use the towel to wipe that area.
11 Eat Solids Again
I know that you’re waiting to devour all the stuff that you weren’t allowed to during your pregnancy. I remember that the first 24 hours I had to lay in bed, but the next day after my catheter was out I was able to eat normally. You doctor will definitely tell you when you can eat.
Although you may feel hungry, you have to be careful with your food. Having a C-section can mess with your digestive system, and it may take a while until you recover. You have to avoid heavy foods that produce gas. Ask your doctor what you can eat. He may give you a specific diet to follow. The important thing is to eat light, and nourishing foods. Soups, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables are a great way to start eating normally. You don’t have to worry, because soon enough you’ll be able to eat whatever you want.
10 Resume Bedroom Activity
If you’ve had a cesarean delivery, then you’re probably still recovering. So, resuming activity in your bedroom may not be the first thing on your mind right now. But the question is still there. When will I be able to have sex again? What will it feel like? Of course, the vaginal area doesn’t suffer as much trauma as in a natural birth. But you will still encounter some sexual challenges in the first three months after delivery. You may want to wait at least four to six weeks before resuming sexual activity. Ask your doctor, and he’ll give you the OK for having sex.
It takes about six weeks for your uterus to return to its normal size and for your cervix to close back up. To safely resume sexual activity, your cervix needs to be completely closed. When you’ll be ready to resume activity in your bedroom, be sure to relax and use some lubrication to get started. If you feel any kind of pain, or encounter any problem, speak to your doctor about it.
9 Go To The Gym
If you had an active life before being pregnant, I imagine you can’t wait to start going to the gym again, and you’re wondering when can you start exercising. Remember to not push yourself too soon. In the first couple of months you don’t have to do any heavy lifting or tough exercise. A normal recovery period after a C-section takes up to 6 weeks, but just to be sure, you have to check with your doctor.
After the six weeks-period had passed, try and do some easy exercises, such as gentle sit-ups. Just remember to breath through your exercise, and don’t overdo it. If you feel any kind of pain, stop. Try to relax and get some rest. You can try again in a couple of days.
Wanna go swimming? As soon as your vaginal bleeding has stopped, and your scar is closed, you’re OK to swim. Because swimming puts so little stress to the body it's a perfect way to recover from a cesarean.
8 Go For A Drive
I’m one of those people that can’t live without a car, so just imagine how I felt until I was able to drive again after my C-section. I just can’t remember when I did it. Most women feel able to drive from two to six weeks. When you drive you use your abdominal muscles and you could disrupt the internal stitches. It depends a lot on your body and how you’re feeling.
Here are some tips so you will know if you’re able to drive after having a C-section. If you can get in and out of the car and don’t feel significant pain, if you can buckle your seat belt over your abdomen without wincing, and if you can turn your torso comfortably so you can look both ways while driving you can definitely start to drive again.
You may also take into consideration that taking medication can affect your driving. But if you want to drive sooner just ask your doctor.
7 Get Pregnant Again
Are you thinking of having another baby? Most doctors recommend to wait at least six months after your C-section before becoming pregnant again. The best period to wait is one year. It all depends on your scar that needs to be healed. If your scar is completely healed, it will be stronger for another pregnancy.
It is important that your body has a full recovery after your cesarean, before your next pregnancy. If you try to conceive too soon you may have a high risk of having a placenta praevia, which is a serious complication during pregnancy. But don’t worry, because the risks are low.
Every woman has a different healing system, and the time it takes to recover may not be the same to every woman. An important advice is to wait a longer period of time if you’ve had complications in your earlier pregnancy. Another important factor is that you feel ready for another baby.
6 Start The Housework Again
The most important thing after you have a C-section is to take it easy. I know everyone will tell you this, from your doctor to your own mother, but you must take care of yourself and let your stomach muscles heal. This also means that for a period of six weeks you are not allowed to lift anything that may be heavier than your baby’s weight. If you experience pain when you get up from bed try and roll on your side so you don’t put your abdomen to do the hard work.
If you’ve recently had a C-section, you must not do any household chores. Take care of yourself and your baby until you are fully recovered from your cesarean. Are you stressed about your messy living room, or your kitchen? Ask for help with your housework. Leave it to your partner, or even ask your mother. You may also pay someone to do it.
5 Go Shopping!
After you’ve given birth to your child, you will probably need to do some shopping. Again, you have to remember to take it easy. You are still not allowed to lift heavy things until you’re fully recovered. Take care of your baby and let your body heal, too.
If you need to go shopping, these are the things you need to ask yourself first. Can you walk to the shop without getting too tired or feeling any sort of pain? Can someone help and drive you there? Do you need to shop for heavy stuff? If you are capable of getting to the shop, don’t lift heavy things. Try and ask a friend, or your husband to help you. If you’ll be too exhausted, your body will take longer to recover, and I believe you don’t want that. This is a time when you must focus on your health and on your baby.
4 Wax And Groom
Maybe it’s summer, or you just want to wear some pretty dresses, or shorts. It doesn’t matter the reason, but your legs and your pubic area must be in top shape, and that means without hair. If you’re not a shaving fan, you’re probably thinking of starting to wax again. But before you go back to waxing, your scar must be completely healed. You’ll know that your scar is healed when you won’t have stitches anymore, no more scabs, or swelling. You have to check with your doctor though before starting to wax again. This can take from six weeks to a couple of months.
I recommend shaving the area until you have the all-clear from your doctor to start waxing again. And when you do, take into consideration that the incision area is pretty numb so you may not feel too much pain, or you won’t be able to feel how hot the wax is. You can request that they avoid the actual scar and go around it.
3 Get Back On Birth Control
Even if you don’t have a period for several months, because of your changing hormone levels, you can get pregnant. Ovulation can begin again at around 27 days after giving birth. At your four-week checkup after your cesarean you can discuss with your doctor about birth control. Thinking of resuming activity in the bedroom? If you and your partner don’t want any other kids right away, you should choose a birth control method, which will suit both of you.
If you choose the birth control pill, you should take into consideration that it takes about a week for the pill to work. Until then, you can use an additional birth control method. Another method you can opt for is a diaphragm and spermicide. This requires a prescription. Make an appointment with your doctor and check for the correct size of the diaphragm. You can also use condoms, which do not require a prescription. Your doctor will recommend what birth control method works for you, especially if you’re breastfeeding.
2 Lose Weight
Do you want to get back at your pre-pregnancy weight, and are already thinking of a weight-loss program? Well, you should know that you have to wait at least six months after your C-section. A recovery from a cesarean takes longer than from a vaginal birth. If you’re breastfeeding you have to wait a little longer on your weight-loss diet.
Maybe you don’t even know it, but if you’re breastfeeding you are already starting to lose weight. While you breastfeed your baby you’re burning extra calories. This happens so your baby can receive the nourishment he needs. This is so easy, right? An easy exercise that also helps with losing weight is walking, for example.
Take good care of what you eat. You have to eat healthy foods and limit all junk food. A good tip is to start your day eating a healthy breakfast. By doing this, you will receive the energy that you need for the day, and prevent fatigue. Another great tip to wash out fat is to drink a lot of water, around eight glasses a day.
1 Get A Tummy Tuck
Have you considered having a tummy tuck after your cesarean? You are not the only women to seek out a post-pregnancy tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty. But you must know that you have to wait six to twelve months until you can consider this surgery. The most important thing about having a tummy tuck after you’ve had a C-section is to not rush into it. Consider if you’re planning to have more children, and wait till then.
A post-pregnancy tummy tuck offers so many benefits. If you are healthy and fully recovered from your cesarean a tummy tuck can recreate your pre-pregnancy figure, and hide away your C-section scar. You may also get rid of the abdominal stretch marks, and repair separated and stretched abdominal muscles by having this surgery.
If you’ve just given birth through a cesarean, you have to wait for a complete recovery, both physically, and emotionally. You may even wait to finish breastfeeding before having the tummy tuck. And as always, if you have questions - please check with your own doctor.
Sources: parents.com, healthline.com