C Section Recovery - What You Need To
Counting both elective and emergency procedures, around one third of births in the US are now by
C-section. The period of recovery from c section varies due to a number of factors. Although
this is now a relatively low risk procedure, there is a significant degree of discomfort involved making it
vital that mothers who have had a c-section do all they can to recover in the best way.
In the hospital
You’ll usually stay in the hospital for around three to five days after the birth.
At first you’ll be given pain killers to help relieve residual pain caused by the surgery but these will be cut
back as soon as possible. If you’ve had general anesthesia then the midwife will also be taking steps to help you
recover from that.
You will usually be encouraged to resume walking again at least by the day after
surgery if not earlier. Apart from psychological benefits this helps the circulation (especially cutting the risk
of blood clots), and also helps get the digestive system moving again. Again, use of a binder helps confidence in
Using A Postpartum Girdle
One way to speed up c section recovery in terms of getting moving again is to wear
a c-section abdominal binder or a postpartum girdle. This gives you more confidence even
whilst still laying in bed, especially when breast-feeding so you can lay on your side if you find that more
comfortable, and in dealing with any pressure on the incision. Using a binder from the start also helps reduce scar
tissue. Don’t necessarily rely on the hospital to provide a suitable binder – you may be better off buying one
yourself. There are are number of different styles available.
C Section Recovery At
When you get home you still need to think of the recovery period as weeks rather
than days. You may need painkiller still for a while. Dependence on painkiller is also reduced by binding because
it cuts down swelling and soreness.
Still aim to keep moving as much as you feel comfortable with, but do not under
any circumstances do heavy housework, or lift anything heavy, for at least two months.
What About The Scar?
You will need to keep a careful eye on the scar. Although it will be sore, it will
in all probability progressively heal and give you no particular problems. However if you find that instead it
starts to get redder, or there is discharge, or you get feverish, or pain is noticeably worse, you must seek
proper medical advice at once.
After about six weeks the scar will have shrunk significantly; it will get
narrower and match your skin color better. You can help the scar healing significantly by massaging the scar on a
daily basis, just for a few minutes each time. Hold the bottom of the scar and massage it gently but firmly. This
helps the tissue to heal and come together in its natural pattern, rather than being lumpy and
Some women find that using scar healing sheets such as the ones pictured below
help the scar to diminish more rapidly.
ScarAway Long Silicone Scar Healing Sheets
Psychologically, you may be affected by the C-section. Quite a few women who have
had c-sections say they feel that the birth process was somehow incomplete or unsatisfactory because it was not
‘normal’. If this feeling persists you should seek out a sympathetic listener, whether that’s a medical
practitioner, a counsellor or just a friend who’s been through it too. You may also have psychological effects
relating to sexual activity. Although it’s usually safe to resume sex about six weeks after a c-section, you will
need to be careful about pressure on the incision; and you may simply not feel like it. This is something you can
discuss at your post natal check up. Each woman regains libido at her own pace.
If you have any concerns about any aspect of your recovery from c
section speak to your medical practitioner.