There are so many fears related to cesareans and I think this is mostly because of the idea of surgery. Most of us are afraid of any form of surgery and a cesarean is no different. I had both my children through cesareans and I thought I would share some of the knowledge that I have gathered over the years. A complication-free cesarean can last between 10 to fifteen mins once inside the operation theatre. After this you are taken to the ICU for recovery. During the recovery period your vital signs will be monitored carefully and the firmness of your uterus will be checked periodically. The hospital staff will also check for any flow of blood. I even felt after pains as my uterus began to contract. While there are many comments and suggestions you will receive about recovering after the cesarean, the best advice for recovery is to begin to move as quickly as you can. Start out with simple things like breathing. I know breathing sounds like an easy thing, but trust me, taking a deep breath is not that easy; remember to begin to do this frequently and as early as possible.
Once you are moved to your regular room, they will still continue to check you regularly for many things including your catheter, blood pressure and IVs. I had growing discomfort with the catheter and it was removed the day after the surgery. The IV will stay until your intestines begin working again, as evidenced by rumbling sounds in the intestines and possible gas pain also. My mother informs me that the best thing to do is to avoid carbonated, hot or cold drinks as they tend to cause gas pain to worsen.
It is completely normal to feel pain from the surgery and it’s important to deal with it asap, because the less pain you feel the more likely you are to be up and moving about. Moving around is essential for a speedy recovery. Another important thing to remember is that once you feel the pain, you must resist the urge to ask for medication or worse, self-medicate. You will be very tempted to take painkillers but remember that all medication will reach the breast milk. This can be dangerous to the baby. Some medicines are better than others for nursing mothers so please remember to discuss it with your doctor if you feel like you cannot control the pain.
The hospital looks for a sign of you being able to walk comfortably before they decide to send you home. Since I’ve done this twice, here are some tips to help you through your recovery.
- When you stand, support the stitches on your belly. Even though it feels like the stitches will open up, this will not happen. Supporting your belly with a pillow or even a dupatta tied around your waist, will give you the confidence to stand and walk.
- Avoid the tendency to lean forward, stand up straight. You will feel a slight pull at the stitches but this is normal.
- Do not look down, but focus on an object and walk towards it.
- Always begin your walking with help from a family member or friend. In case of any imbalance or pain, having an arm to lean on can be very re-assuring.
- Walk as frequently as possible even if it is just a few steps at a time. You will gradually find it easier to walk.
I really do hope this info helps. If you have any questions or doubts, please feel free to ask me in the comments section. I’m not a doctor but having been through this twice, I might be able to give you a few tips and a word of advice!