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After a C-Section: What to Expect After Birth


A C-section is major abdominal surgery and new moms need to worry about their own recovery while taking care of a newborn. During the procedure, a surgeon will cut through your belly and uterus in order to pull the baby out.

Whether your surgery was planned or an emergency, take the time to heal. Remember that everyone recovers from surgery at different rates so don't compare your recovery to anyone else's. You'll probably feel more like yourself in just a few weeks, so be gentle to yourself and make sure to get lots of rest.

Your recovery will vary, depending on your own health level before the birth, plus whether this is your first C-section and if it was planned or unplanned. Either way, you should be fully healed by the time your baby is six months old and completely back to normal in a year.

What Happens After a C-Section? Your Body

You'll have a large incision through your belly and it will likely be raised. As time goes on, it will fade to a thin line. When you're still in the hospital, you may have a drain in the incision, as well as a catheter and an IV in your hand.

Your incision will be closed up with stitches. Many doctors use dissolvable stitches, though some doctors will have to remove them manually. Your doctor may want you to come to his or her office a week or so after the birth to check how your incision is healing.

When you're still in the hospital after birth, you'll be given painkillers to help with the pain. These should not interfere with breastfeeding. Make sure you stay on top of the pain and take your medication before you start to feel pain. If you need to cough, or you're laughing after a C-section, hold a pillow over your incision to help with the pain.

Surgery can wreak havoc on your digestive system so it may be extremely uncomfortable if you need to pass gas after birth. Try to eat a lot of fruit and drink plenty of fluids to make yourself more comfortable.

Your circulation may be disrupted after a C-section, so try to wiggle your toes on a regular basis to make sure your blood is flowing through your legs and feet. Your hospital may put compression socks on to help with circulation. When you're cleared to walk around, try to get up slowly and walk to the bathroom or the nursery. You may need help at first so don't be afraid to call for a nurse's help after a C-section.

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