Having recently had my second Caesarean section I thought maybe a blog on the advice I had been given on helping recovery would be a good idea. Both of my c-sections were elective, so no rush emergency jobs here.
On The Day – Before
Whether elective or emergency, a Caesarean section is a nerve-wracking procedure. Most of my nerves are around the spinal block, it is such a very strange feeling to lose the use of your legs. Knowing an anaesthetist is shoving a needle into a tiny space in your back is not for the faint hearted.
Nerves aside prepare yourself for a wait, or even to miss your slot due to an emergency. Bring a book or something to do for those moments when you can’t be bothered to talk. It is hard to ignore your hunger too if your wait stretches out ahead of you. My hospital allowed you to drink sips of still Lucozade sport to counter the nausea afterwards, but check with your doctors before sipping anything but water.
The longer I wait the more my nerves make me a horrible waiting companion. Partners bear that in mind!
On The Day – During
Baby is born surprisingly quickly! One word to the wise: they push down on your stomach quite hard when getting the baby out. Nobody warned me, and it took me completely by surprise. It is the worst part of the operation. Even though I was expecting it the second time it still shocked me.
A midwife checks over your baby just like a vaginal birth, before being brought over to you. They did offer me the first hold but to be honest there isn’t much chest room between you and the screen (green sheet) and I was too worried about dropping him so my husband had the first hold both times. I also tend to get the shakes quite bad, no idea if due to the drugs or adrenaline and nerves.
My c-sections were in different hospitals, one let me keep my glasses on, one didn’t. You don’t need to be Einstein to guess what I preferred: being able to see your newborn is always a bonus. Don’t forget you’re not allowed to wear contact lenses.
It is the stitching that takes the longest. You don’t realise exactly how long because if you’re like me, you are spending all your time staring at this beautiful new addition to your family.
Every now and again the anaesthetist would give me some drugs or check I was ok. And the midwife is still there to keep an eye on your little one.
On The Day – After
You are bed bound and catheterised afterwards while you have no feeling in your legs. The midwife on the recovery ward gives you a buzzer and helps with any practical tasks you can’t manage. Eventually you will be taken to the post delivery ward for the next couple of days. My last Caesarean section had a combination spinal/epidural and the affects wore off much quicker than my previous full spinal. This meant you were turfed out of bed and back on your feet sooner. Which is undoubtedly better for you in the long run, but painful!
You should have had some good pain relief in hospital, and they’ll release you with enough medicine to keep you comfortable at home. I have always been quite comfortable when sitting or lying down, it is moving that is tricky lol.
Beware the bloating! And the farting. Oh the shame of getting up to walk to the toilet and farting for 20 seconds solid in front of my in-laws. If I thought they might not have noticed my son made sure the year did by laughing.
My Top Caesarean Section Recovery Tips
- For the first few days I used disposable maternity pants while the blood loss was heaviest. No point wrecking your good pants. Don’t forget your maternity pads!
- Big pants! Big granny pants that go right up to your belly button are a must. No scar rubbing, no catching on stitches and they’re comfortable. I’m a convert to granny pants lol.
- After your dressing comes off stick a sanitary towel on the inside of your pants over your scar, this helps keep your wound dry after a shower. I didn’t do this all day because I found the cotton fabric more comfortable against my scar.
- Getting up is a challenge! You can’t use your stomach muscles very well. It’s worth mastering a kind of roll onto your side before moving your feet to the floor. Don’t try and use your abdominal muscles to get up, that really hurts. Use the strength in your arms and legs more than your stomach.
- Keep your wound clean and dry. Shower every day and make sure you dry it well after. If you have the dreaded overhang use a hairdryer on the coolest setting to make sure the scar is totally dry. Infection I still more likely I feel moisture remains.
- Take your painkillers!
- While it’s tempting to live life as normal, remember a c-section is a major operation and your body needs time to heal. 4-6 weeks is recommended. I’ve felt normal, with no movement issues or pain by 4 weeks each time.
- Both times my scar has popped open a bit when stitches have come out too early. Keep an eye on your wound! If it looks infected get help from your GP early; especially if you feel unwell or have a temperature.
- Ideally put your feet up for at least two weeks. Concentrate on feeding your baby. Housework can wait! Remember the healing you can see on the outside is also happening on the inside.
So this is my experience
I’m no medical professional, these are just my experiences with a Caesarean section and recovery. If you are due for surgery soon, all the best with your recovery and try to take it easy! Most of all congratulations.