Recovering from a c-section takes time. Your body went through the miraculous task of hosting a baby, and then you underwent major abdominal surgery. You prepare throughout your pregnancy for the delivery of your child, but do you know what to expect after? Don’t fret- we’re here to guide you through the process by outlining what to expect after your c-section.

Healing Time

It’s going to take some time for your body to go back to normal. You can expect to stay at the hospital for two to four days. Once you get home, the recovery process is just starting as total recovery time is between 4-6 weeks, but of course, every one’s process is different.

The first couple weeks are the most important as you’re at the highest risk for an infection. Check your incision to make sure there’s no excessive swelling, redness, or other signs of infection. You’ll want to visit your OB-GYN* within three weeks of giving birth to make sure that your recovery is on track.

Vaginal Health

If you experience vaginal bleeding after a belly birth, that’s okay. It’s completely normal. It lasts for 2-6 weeks after the birth and mainly comes from where the placenta was attached to the womb.

If you’re thinking about having sex soon after your c-section, unfortunately, you’re going to want to hold off. Wait to get the green light from your doctor. Most say to wait at least four to six weeks after birth. Of course, don’t feel like the time frame is set in stone, take however long you need.

Incision Care

Another part of your healing will include incision care. Your wound will continue to feel sore and bruised for a few weeks and you will need to take pain relief for at least 7-10 days after your belly birth. Because of your incision, doctors suggest that you don’t drive for 4-6 weeks post-surgery since you need to be able to brake without feeling any pain in your abdomen.

Recovery Tips 

The healing process can sound scary and intimidating especially since you’re also going to be caring for a newborn. There are ways to make sure your afterbirth process will be as smooth and comfortable as possible- here are our top suggestions.

  • Herbal Remedies: Peppermint, fennel, and ginger are great for anti-nausea. A great way to consume them is through tea.
  • Fluids: Drink as much water as possible, or at least 8 cups a day. Drinking water can help you replenish the fluids that you lost during delivery. But it can also help relieve constipation, which is good news since it is such a common problem and can cause pain by putting pressure on the incision.
  • Stool Softeners: These will also help with the constipation.
  • Heating Pads: Heat will relax your muscles, increase blood flow to the area and, because your nerves are relaying the feeling of warmth to your brain, it will also dampen your pain signal.
  • Incision Ointments: Ointments can help with restoration from a surgical delivery. Try our Fourth Phase BellyBirthBalm.
  • Rest: Ensuring you’re getting a good night’s rest will boost your body’s ability to heal. Finding a good pillow can help you get into a comfortable position at night.
  • Belly Band: A belly band is meant to support the back and belly while your uterus returns to its normal size. By stabilizing your mid-section, it can also provide back support and relief from back pain. We have a great one that comes in our Belly Birth Box.
  • Helpers: One of the most important things you can do for yourself is enlist some help. There’s no doubt family and friends will be dying to see your new baby, so why not take advantage of the gawking and put them to work while you’re catching up on some rest and relaxation.

Long-term Recovery

If your body is feeling great and you’re ready to get back to a normal routine, you should start to include some exercising. Try doing some post c-section yoga or c-section specific core exercises.

Recovering from a belly birth takes time and may take longer than a doctor or midwife says it will. Some women experience muscle or incision pain for several months. Others struggle with urinary incontinence due to weakened pelvic floor muscles.

Don’t ignore any signs your body is giving you. If certain pains persist, bring it up with your doctor. A referral to a specialist, such as a pelvic floor* or exercise therapist, can help with long-term recovery.

** Link to other blog post “Meet Your Fourth Trimester Healthcare Team”

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