About AOA

The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until all the children are in bed.
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Recovering After a C-Section

Recovering After a C-Section

A Cesarean section, or C-section, is a surgery to deliver a baby. A horizontal incision is made in the mother’s abdomen and then in the wall of the uterus and the baby is removed that way. Most women may try to deliver vaginally after a prior C-section. Your AOA doctor is knowledgeable about this procedure and can conduct it for you in a safe and appropriate fashion if you choose. In the U.S., approximately 30% of babies are born this way.

Most C-sections are done when a problem arises during delivery. These problems can include different health issues in the mother, the baby’s position, lack of room for the baby to move through the vagina, or signs of baby’s distress. C-sections are more common when a woman is giving birth to multiple babies.

While C-sections are considered safe, it is a major surgery and carries some risks, and it takes longer to recover from a C-section delivery than a vaginal birth. You will often need to remain in the hospital for a few more days than with a vaginal birth. You may feel groggy and nauseous for a few days from the medicines you received. A nurse will closely monitor your blood pressure, heart rate, and how much you are bleeding vaginally. She will also check to be sure your uterus is firming up.

While exhaustion and pain may make leaving your bed seem like a huge task, it is important to get up a couple of times a day as soon as possible. This will reduce your chances of getting blood clots, and it will help you move your bowels. Constipation is a common occurrence after this kind of surgery. It will take your digestive tract a little time to normalize. Eat lots of fiber, drink lots of water and try to move around as much as possible. And it’s a good idea to have someone around to lean on the first couple of times you get up and walk around, to make sure you don’t get dizzy.

The incision will hurt for a while after the surgery, but you will be given oral medications to help with the pain. These medicines will not interfere with breastfeeding, so you can feel comfortable taking them. It’s important not to be too stoic about the pain. It’s better to keep the pain at bay to help you make an easier transition to caring for your newborn. Keep your incision clean and dry and you should be well on the way to being healed within a week or so.

Your AOA doctor will monitor your healing process and give you a thumbs-up when it’s okay to resume more strenuous lifting and exercise activities.

Learn more about recovering from a C-section at:

MayoClinic - C-Section
MedlinePlus - After a C-Section
The Bump - Care and Recovery