Recovery After C-section

Some births won’t be possible without the need for a cesarean operation. This is why a c-section is done as the last option for a complicated pregnancy. But what are the process of recovery after c-section? Read on to find out.

C-section, also referred to as cesarean section or cesarean delivery, is the use of surgery to deliver babies through incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. A c-section is often necessary when a vaginal delivery would put the baby or mother at risk.

Pregnancy can sometimes be challenging for some people. This is because the body undergoes plenty of changes that are not so easy to cope with.

Nevertheless, the woman is consoled by the joy and warmth she feels, holding her baby at childbirth while staring at her bundle of joy. Every woman longs for a short labor and delivery but complications arise during pregnancy and childbirth.

This is why cesarean operations are done to ease the stress of birth. Recovery after C-section has, however, remained a scary experience especially for new mothers.

Incisions made may be:

  • Up-and-down (vertical): This type of incision extends from the belly button to the pubic hairline.
  • Across from side-to-side (horizontal): This type of incision extends across the pubic hairline. It’s often used because it heals well, and causes less bleeding. The health of both mother and child determines the type of incision that would be used.

Why a c-section is done

A c-section is typically performed when complications from pregnancy make traditional vaginal birth difficult or put the mother or child at risk.

C- section is, however, avoided as much as possible because recovery after the operation requires a lot of time, and it causes pain. Sometimes cesarean sections are planned early in the pregnancy, but they’re most often performed when complications arise during labor.

Reasons for a c-section include:

  • Abnormal fetal heart rate. The rate of the baby’s heart during labor is a good sign of how well the fetus is doing. Your provider will monitor the heart rate of the baby during labor. The standard rate varies from 120 to 160 beats per minute. Your doctor may consider immediate surgery if the rate of the baby’s heartbeat is abnormal. This may involve administering the mother oxygen, increasing fluids, and changing the mother’s position. If the heart rate doesn’t improve, then a cesarean delivery may be the next move.
  • Abnormal position of the fetus during birth. The normal position of the baby during birth is head-down, facing the mother’s back. Sometimes a fetus may not be in the right position. This makes delivery difficult through the natural birth canal. Transverse labor and breech birth are examples of such abnormalities
  • Problems with labor
  • Size of the fetus. The baby is too big for your doctor to deliver vaginally.
  • Placenta problems. This includes placenta previa, in which the placenta clogs the cervix. (Premature detachment from the baby is referred to as abruption.)
  • Some conditions in the mother, such as HIV infection, high blood pressure, or diabetes
  • Active herpes sores in the mother’s cervix or vagina
  • Twins or other multiples
  • Previous C-section can make it difficult for a mother to deliver vaginally.
  • Baby has developmental conditions
  • Early pregnancy complications
  • Problems with the umbilical cord
  • Reduced oxygen supply to the baby
  • Stalled labor

The risks of a cesarean delivery

A cesarean delivery remains a major surgery that poses a risk for both mother and child, unlike natural childbirth that bears minimal risk and complications.

Some of the risks of C-section may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Breathing problems for the baby, especially if done before 39 weeks of pregnancy
  • Increased risks for future pregnancies
  • Delayed return of bowel functions
  • Infection
  • Injury to the child during surgery
  • Longer recovery time compared with vaginal birth
  • Surgical injury to major organs
  • Reaction to medicine use during surgery

Tips for a faster recovery after C-section

  1. Get plenty of rest: After having undergone a major surgery like C-section, the body needs plenty of time and rest periods to recover. The mother is expected to spend a few days in the hospital where she would be monitored appropriately, and any complication that arises will be taken care of. You could get your partner, a relative, or a friend to help you around the house and to attend to the baby. This would allow you the time of rest.
  2. Pamper your body: Pamper your body as much as possible during this healing period. Do not perform strenuous tasks and avoid climbing up and down the stairs as much as possible. Keep the things you need, such as food and diaper changing supplies close to you, to limit your movement. Avoid lifting heavy objects, and don’t be in a hurry to resume regular routines that could include games, work, or exercise.
  3. Relieve your pain: Most times, pains, especially around the surgical site, can cause discomfort. You should ask your doctor what pain medication should be used, especially if you are breastfeeding your baby. Assume a more comfortable posture when standing, sitting, or lying. You can also use heating pads to relieve pain in the surgical area. Also, look out for signs of infection, swelling, redness, foul smell, or pain around the area of the incision. Contact you, doctor, immediately if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
  4. Maintain proper nutrition: This involves eating and drinking in the right quality and quantity. Especially for a woman whose baby is breastfeeding. Adequate nutrition is essential as it provides mother and child with sufficient nutrients needed for suitable body function. And for a mother who has just undergone surgery, it helps to heal the body and make it stronger. Eating a balanced diet will keep your baby healthy and help you get stronger. Also, ensure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. You need extra fluids to help boost your breast milk supply and to avoid constipation.
  5. Take regular walks: Walking can help the mother to stay fit and maintain good mental and physical health. After c-section, strenuous exercises are not advised for the first few weeks, but walking is a sure way to speed recovery after C-section the procedure. Taking a walk also reduces the risk of blood clots and other heart or blood vessel issues. This could be practiced in groups with other new mothers or with family members and friends while pushing the baby in their strollers.
  6. Fight constipation: Severe constipation can be painful, and straining can injure the c-section incision. Drink plenty of water and ask a doctor about taking a stool softener. Eating plenty of fiber-rich foods, such as fruit and vegetables, can also help to prevent constipation.


C-section has become a popular method of child delivery, where vaginal birth seems complicated. It involves cutting through the mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver a baby.

The process of recovery after C-section makes the option easier to manage. Recovery after C-section can be facilitated by proper rest, adequate nutrition, adequate support, care of the body, etc.

Have you ever had a cesarean operation before? How was your recovery process? Do you care to share your experience with us? Also, include feedback so other readers may get more information about recovery after c-section.