Tuesday, November 6, 2012

After Cesarean Section, a guide to Post C Section care

Each woman's pregnancy, birth, and motherhood experience is as unique as she is. The same can be said for a woman's experiences as she recovers after c section. As you know, a c-section is a surgical birth; an obstetrician makes an incision in a woman's lower abdomen and removes the baby through this opening. This is a very different process from a vaginal birth experience. Because a c-section is major abdominal surgery, the recovery is quite different from a woman experiences after a vaginal birth. Additionally, women who have unplanned c-sections following a trial of labor may experience more challenges after their babies' births than those who had scheduled c-sections in advance.

“I ordered the corset version because with pregnancy you never know, it's so unpredictable, so I went ahead and purchased that one, which I'm glad I did because I ended up having an emergency C-Section. The Bellefit Girdle helped so much. I started to wear it seven days afterwards and right away I could straighten my back.” – Massiel from Nevada 

C-Section Incision Recovery

Front and back view of Postpartum Recovery Girdle
There are varying degrees of discomfort for women during the c-section recovery period. In general, it takes women longer to recover from c-sections than from vaginal births. There are two incisions which need to be closed. Typically the inner incision - the one in your uterus - is closed with stitches that will dissolve away. The outer incision - the one you can see on your skin - is closed with stitches or staples. Stitches will usually dissolve on their own, but staples must be removed by the doctor. Additionally, if you notice anything strange about your incision, call your doctor immediately. If the incision feels warm or painful to the touch, if it is getting more red and tender, or if it is leaking any sort of fluid, you could have an infection. Call your doctor immediately.

“Bellefit is holding everything properly, it fits my body perfectly. My abdomen feels at ease. When I sneeze or cough, my abdomen doesn't hurt. It is a big difference. I know my body is healing properly and my body and my recovery is in good hands because of Bellefit.” – Bellefit Customer 

Post C-Section Symptoms

Immediately following your c-section, you may feel nauseous. In fact, you might even vomit. Nausea is a common side effect to anesthesia, so your nurses will be ready for this reaction. If you feel up to it, hold your baby as soon as you can to facilitate bonding. The first two hours after your baby is born is a magical time to connect with your newborn! Babies are remarkably alert during this time, so it is a natural opportunity to spend private time with your child and your birth partner. If you plan to breastfeed your baby, ask the nurses to help you get started in the recovery room.

Many women will want or need to take a prescription pain medication to manage the pain associated with the early stages of their recoveries. Sometimes women recovering from c-sections find it hard to breastfeed. This is because it is challenging to position your newborn correctly at the breast when your abdomen hurts! Though it can be difficult, if you want to breastfeed after your c-section, you can do it! Make sure you have support available to you. Lactation consultants and postpartum nurses make wonderful teachers and helpers in those early days of your baby's life. They can show you how to use pillows to ease some of your discomfort as you nurse your baby.

Bellefit Cesarean Section
Postpartum Corset
After the first 24 hours, you will be encouraged by your nurses to get up and walk around. Gentle movement like this helps jump start the healing process by increasing your circulation. Chances are good that you had a catheter inserted during surgery to collect your urine. Sometime in the first 24 hours after surgery the catheter will be removed and you will need to practice using the bathroom on your own before you can go home.  As crazy as that sounds, using the bathroom can be tough for new moms, no matter what type of birth you had! Because your abdominal wall has been significantly affected by your pregnancy and the surgery, you may find it difficult to move to a sitting position from lying down. Rolling over, laughing, and crying may also be painful for a while, too.

Does wearing a Postpartum Girdle help?

One of the best ways to ease your discomfort after a c-section is to use an abdominal binder or compression girdle. Some OB/GYNs will recommend them to new moms when a c-section has been scheduled. Compression is a post-operative option for many types of surgery because it speeds the healing process. By increasing circulation to the area under compression, the damaged tissues experience a better immune response and receive more blood, nutrients, and oxygen. Bellefit offers a medical grade compression garment that is perfect for women who have had c-sections. Not only does the abdominal binder speed healing, it also supports the lower back by holding in the abdominal wall. This improves a woman's posture, which can be very poor during the initial postpartum period.

Most of the time, women who have had c-sections should stick to light exercise during the first six to eight weeks after their babies are born. Light walking is fine, as long as you feel up to it. It is important that your doctor check your incision area and clear you for moderate exercise before you resume your workout program. The most important thing to do as you recover from a c-section is to take it easy for a while. Let other people do your housework, and try not to lift anything or anyone heavier than your newborn. Be patient with yourself as you recover, too. The process is sometimes slow, but if you do too much too soon, you will only exhaust yourself. Do your very best to enjoy your brand new baby and just allow yourself to heal.


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