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Moving Around After a Cesarean
The first and most important thing you need to be aware of is that any movement is going to feel impossible after a c-section. In order to make things more bearable bring your own pillows. The hospital pillows are pretty flat and you are going to need to prop yourself up into comfortable positions. Take help from any friends and family to get you up in those first few days and take advantage of the different chairs in the room to get into different positions. Don’t be shy asking the nurses for help venturing from your bed either, especially the first trip to the bathroom. The sooner you get moving, the faster you will start healing so try to take your first short walk within 24 hrs after surgery.
The recovery of an unplanned c-section can, unfortunately, be difficult. Your muscles and body may have labored for hours and then those same muscles went through surgery. Thankfully, any subsequent c-sections would most likely be planned and therefore there is no need to labor beforehand, this makes the process much easier the second or third time around.
Dissolvable stitches will be placed on the inside layer of muscle and fat and can be expected to dissolve within the first month or two post surgery. Staples will be used for the layers of skin and will be removed by the time you are ready to leave the hospital. Within 4-6 weeks the incision site will begin to turn white and resemble a normal flat scar. If, by chance, you develop a keloid on your scar don’t worry this can be decreased or possibly completely removed in any subsequent c-sections. The area surrounding the incision will feel tingly and/or numb for weeks or sometimes months after surgery. Fortunately, this area experiencing abnormal sensation should get smaller as time goes on. Read about scar care here.
Getting Fit and Getting Physical
Recovery time for a c-section is just as long as it is with a vaginal birth, just because your baby came out a different way doesn’t mean your rules are different. After a c-section it is best to wait 6 weeks and be cleared by your doctor to begin working out or having intercourse.
SEX: Sorry to say, but you don’t miss out on the possibility of your first time having sex being a little painful. After giving birth your hormones are going haywire and this can lead to some serious vaginal dryness, so, even if your man is the king of foreplay, I suggest using a little lubricant to ensure things go smoothly. Also, this is not the time to be shy in the bedroom, as you may need to get a little creative with positioning to avoid your partner placing too much weight on your incision site.
FITNESS: The first workout sessions after a cesarean will require much more core strength than you might think, even walking, so take it extremely slowly and hold off one any abdominal work until you are feeling 100%. Remember, a c-section is a major abdominal surgery there is no need to rush your recovery.
Some Perks and Miscellaneous Knowledge
Your baby has a good chance of not looking like a cone head. If baby never worked his way down into the birth canal, then odds are good he will come out with an adorable round head. Yay!
Bikinis are not out of the question. Okay, to clarify, the bikini you wore on your college spring break trip probably isn’t going to happen but the incision will be low enough that most bikinis will cover it.
After a c-section you get a longer hospital stay, many parents really appreciate having an extra few days to adjust to their new roles before heading home.
You can plan subsequent c-sections, if you choose to do so. This means knowing (or picking) baby’s birthday in advance and having the appropriate help for your recovery in place ahead of time.