Recovering from a C-section

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There’s no real way to sugarcoat this: giving birth is not easy. Whether you and your doctors decide to have your baby delivered via natural birth, water birth or C-section, the process is going to put some serious strain on the body.

You know this, of course, and you also probably know that said strain is not insurmountable. It helps to know what to look out for though. Here is some of what a new mother can anticipate after a Cesarean section, or C-section.

You may need a little extra time

A C-section definitely takes a toll on your body and you should be prepared to give yourself a little extra recovery time. On average, it takes around four to six weeks for the incision to heal, which is significantly longer than the recovery time for an uncomplicated natural birth. It’s important not to overexert yourself during this time, as too much activity could reopen the wound and make the process even longer. Maternity times tend to limited in Thailand (although three months is the legal standard). Be sure to make it clear to your boss that you will need adequate time to heal.

Nursing is going to be tough (but not impossible) at first

You can start breastfeeding pretty much right away, but it’s going to be a bit tricky for a while. Try different sorts of positions and holds until you find a way to support the baby without putting additional weight on your incision.

You will probably need to spend a couple of days in the hospital

Any open wound, no matter how big or how small, poses at least some risk for infection. During a standard C-section, doctors make two small incisions: the first in the abdomen, the second in the uterus itself. Although neither is particularly large, it’s still safer to let them heal in a sterile, controlled environment under medical supervision. As a result, most doctors recommend that new mothers spend the first three days or so under medical supervision.

Looking for a doctor for your OB/GYN, WOMEN – GYNECOLOGY questions? We recommend:
 Areepan Sophonsritsuk, M.D. Areepan Sophonsritsuk, M.D.
Pulmonary Critical Care, Samitivej Sukhumvit
Questions about your pregnancy, child birth or life with an infant? Ask the Doctor!

Your love life may cool off for a while

Vigorous activity, including the loving kind, right after a C-section is usually not recommended. Most doctors advise women to wait for at least six weeks after birth to recommence their sexual life. When you do so, you may notice that hormonal shifts from the pregnancy and breastfeeding can leave the vagina dry or sore. This usually passes with time, but you may want to take things slowly for a while.

Don’t jump right back on that treadmill

Although most women can begin exercising again fairly soon after an uncomplicated natural birth, a C-section is a bit trickier. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

References

  1. Mayo Clinic Staff: Healthy Lifestyle – Labor and postpartum care – Exercise after pregnancy. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/exercise-after-pregnancy/art-20044596. Accessed on December 18, 2014
  2. Mayo Clinic – Healthy Lifestyle – Labor and delivery – Sex after pregnancy. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/sex-after-pregnancy/art-20045669. Accessed on December 18, 2014.
  3. Mayo Clinic Staff: Healthy Lifestyle – Labor and postpartum care – C-section recovery: what to expect. Available from: Mayo Clinic Staff: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/c-section-recovery/art-20047310. Accessed on December 18, 2014.

Photo Credit: Ned via Compfight cc

ExpectingExpats.com

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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