Although most mothers and babies recover well after a Caesarean birth, it is major surgery and a complete recovery takes time.
While you’re in hospital, you’ll have plenty of close contact with your baby and you’ll be encouraged to get out of bed and start moving as soon as possible to help with your recovery. Your incision wound will be covered with a dressing and this will be changed prior to discharge from hospital.
There will be a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) in your bladder until your spinal anaesthetic has worn off and you are able to walk to the bathroom. You’ll be given painkillers to help with any discomfort. In the beginning these will be given on a regular schedule, then as you are moving around more you will have them less often and when you feel as if you need them.
Having a caesarean section delivery does not impact on how the production of milk is stimulated, and the midwives will assist you with breast feeding whilst you are recovering.
Before you go home, you’ll be told everything you need to know about what to expect during your recovery. In general, though, while recovering at home:
- You will need to take it easy while the incision wound heals. Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby and don’t do any intense exercise (you can go for a daily gentle walk). It’s a good idea to arrange for family or friends to help with housework and shopping.
- You can expect to have discomfort in your lower abdomen for up to two weeks after the Caesarean and you may need pain relief during that time. (You’ll be advised how to manage this before you leave hospital.)
- You will have vaginal bleeding (as with all types of birth) which may last up to six weeks.
- In terms of getting back to normal, you can start to do activities such as driving, shopping, exercise and sex when you feel able to do so and do not find them uncomfortable. Generally, this will be around four-to-six weeks after your Caesarean, but can be sooner if you feel ready.
If you have any questions or concerns while recovering from your Caesarean, please don’t hesitate to contact your obstetrician.
Here’s a link to RANZCOG’s information about Caesarean Sections (the section about recovery starts approximately two-thirds down the page) https://ranzcog.edu.au/womens-health/patient-information-resources/caesarean-section
Picture of Erin and Zeb with beautiful baby Molly.