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A cesarean delivery — also known as a C-section or cesarean section — is the surgical delivery of a baby. It involves one incision in the mother’s abdomen and another in the uterus. The following article tells us about the different stages of recovery and also provides information about the necessary care that the new mom should take.

Table of Contents

Tips Of Recovery

Stages of Recovery

Foods During Recovery

Exercises after C Section

Tips Of Recovery

It may take about six weeks to recover from your caesarean section (c-section). If you had any problems during or after your c-section, or if you are looking after other children at home, you may feel you need more time to recover.

Gentle exercise, such as walking, will help you recover from your c-section. But avoid anything more active until you have no pain and you feel ready. For example, avoid driving, carrying anything heavy, doing heavy housework, such as vacuuming or until you feel you are able to.

You will need help with carrying your baby in their car seat and with lifting their pram. Check with your insurance company when you will be covered for driving after a c-section.

While you’re in the hospital, your midwife should give you information on exercises that will help you recover from your caesarean section (c-section). They will encourage you to start moving around as soon as you’re able to get out of bed. Gentle walking will help you recover from your surgery. If you had any complications during pregnancy or birth, or you have any medical problems, get advice from your GP or a physiotherapist before starting any type of exercise.

Your midwife and health visitor will visit you at home for the first few weeks to check how you and your baby are getting on. After that, you can see your health visitor at a local clinic if you’d like your baby to be weighed or if you want to talk about any problems you’re having. You will need to make an appointment with your GP for your postnatal check six to eight weeks after your c-section. This is to check how you are recovering.

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Stages Of Recovery

Childbirth is an exciting time. You finally get to meet the baby who’s been growing inside of you for the last nine months. Yet having a baby can also be taxing to your body, especially if you’ve had a cesarean delivery (C-section). You’ll need more time to recover than you would after a routine vaginal delivery. Here are four suggestions to speed up your recovery so you can spend less time sore and tired, and more time bonding with your new baby.

1. Get plenty of rest 

A C-section is major surgery. Just like with any surgery, your body needs time to heal afterwards. Expect to stay in the hospital for three to four days after your delivery (longer if there are complications), and give your body up to six weeks to fully heal. That’s easier said than done. It’s hard to crawl into bed for hours on end when you have a baby who is demanding lots of attention. You’ve probably heard the advice from well-meaning friends and relatives: Rest whenever your baby rests. They're right. Try to sleep whenever your baby naps.

2. Baby your body 

Take extra care in getting around while you heal. Avoid going up and down stairs as much as you can. Keep everything you need, like diaper changing supplies and food, close to you so that you don’t have to get up too often. Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby. Ask for help from your spouse or a friend or family member. Whenever you have to sneeze or cough, hold your abdomen to protect the incision site. It could take up to eight weeks for you to get back into your normal routine. Ask your doctor when it’s fine to exercise, go back to work, and drive. Just as you take care of your physical health, don’t forget about your emotional health. Having a baby can bring up feelings you never expected. If you feel exhausted, sad, or disappointed, don’t ignore it. Talk about your emotions with a friend, your partner, your doctor, or a counsellor.

3. Relieve your pain 

Ask your doctor what pain medicines you can take, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Depending on the level of your discomfort, the doctor might prescribe a pain reliever or advise you to take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Shop online for ibuprofen or acetaminophen. In addition to pain medicine, you can use a heating pad to relieve discomfort at the surgical site. Find heating pads online.

4. Focus on good nutrition 

Good nutrition is just as important in the months after you deliver as it was while you were pregnant. If you’re breastfeeding, you’re still your baby’s primary source of nutrition. Eating a variety of foods will keep your baby healthy and help you get stronger. Research shows that eating vegetables while breastfeeding imparts flavours in breast milk that increase your child’s enjoyment and consumption of those vegetables as they grow. Also, drink plenty of fluids, especially water. You need extra fluids to boost your breast milk supply and to avoid constipation.

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Foods During Recovery

Drawing a diet plan, with what to eat after cesarean delivery and what to avoid, can be tricky and should be planned carefully. The diet should be a mix of foods which will supply essential nutrients in current quantities to the mother. Listed below are items which should be included in a mother’s food after C section for speedy recovery and nutrition fulfilment:

1. Protein, Minerals and Calcium Rich Food

Proteins help in the growth of new tissue cells which fasten the healing process. Food items rich in protein facilitate repair of tissues and maintain muscle power post the surgery. Calcium, on the other hand, helps in strengthening bones and teeth, relaxation of muscles, aids blood coagulation and prevents osteoporosis. During breastfeeding, 250 to 350 mg of calcium is transferred to the new-born baby.

2. Whole Grain Foods 

Whole grain foods such as pasta, brown bread and brown rice should form a part of your diet as they are rich in carbohydrates which help to maintain energy levels and breast milk production. Enriched whole grain products have iron, fibre and folic acid which are essential in the early stages of development of the baby. Mothers experiencing sleepless nights and irritation in the morning should start their day with whole grain cereal breakfast.

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Exercises After C-Section

You may resume exercises 6 weeks after delivery or as advised by your doctor. It is always best to start slow. Go for slow walks every day on flat roads. After the 6 week recovery period (or as per your doctor's advise), gradually pick up the pace.

NOTE:Please consult with a doctor before resuming any exercises.If you were not physically active before pregnancy, you may have to wait longer before returning to exercises.

Here are some exercises which would help you with a faster recovery.

Pelvic floor exercises 

You may have been doing these exercises during your pregnancy. After your c-section, you can start to exercise your pelvic floor once your catheter has been removed and as soon as you feel ready. These exercises will help strengthen the muscles that support your womb, bowels and bladder. This may help you manage any problems with leaking urine.

Physical exercise 

Wait until you’ve had your 6-8 week postnatal check with your GP before returning to your pre-pregnancy levels of exercise. Try to build up your exercise levels gradually. Once you have recovered from your c-section and no longer have any pain, it is usually safe to start low-impact exercises, such as swimming, pilates, yoga, gentle jogging and low resistance gym work. Your GP may recommend you wait for at least 12 weeks before starting any high-impact exercises, such as aerobics, running and resistance or weight training.

Abdominal exercises 

These exercises will help to strengthen the muscles in your abdomen (tummy area). This will help you to protect your spine and have good posture.

Lie on your side and slightly bend your knees. Relax your abdominal muscles and breathe in gently. As you breathe out, gently pull in your abdominal muscles. At the same time, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles.

Hold in your abdominal muscles and squeeze your pelvic floor for 10 seconds, then gently release. Repeat this exercise 10 times. Try to do this exercise three times a day.

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informative purposes only. Please do consult your doctor if you have any health-related issues/doubts and seek their advice. A direct and specific evaluation from your doctor is much more valuable than anything you would find on the Internet.

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