Recovering from a C-Section: What to Expect

Births done by caesarean section, or C-section, are growing in popularity around the world. A 2018 study in the medical journal The Lancet found that 21% of babies are delivered by C-section world-wide. This was a 9% jump from 2000. When you focus on the United States, C-sections are even more popular. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nearly 32% of U.S. babies are delivered via surgery. That’s 1,208,176 C-sections compared to 2,581,992 vaginal deliveries.

Despite C-sections making up almost a third of all birth experiences, it can sometimes seem like all the post-birth advice is geared toward vaginal births. C-sections are often seen as the “easier” way to give birth. However, C-sections come with their own unique set of challenges as you recover. Use this blog to learn more about what to expect.

Are you pregnant or thinking about adding to your family? Come see the team at the OB/GYN practice of Dr. John Macey in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Macey has more than 27 years of experience as an obstetrician and gynecologist and is board-certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He and the rest of our staff are proud to offer state-of-the-art and comprehensive treatments for women of all ages.

When C-sections are recommended

C-sections can be done by choice or may be recommended for medical reasons. Dr. Macey may recommend a C-section for any of the following reasons: 

Any situation that puts the mother or child in danger is often grounds to switch to a C-section birth.

Post-birth symptoms

A C-section doesn’t mean you won’t experience the same symptoms of a woman who gave birth vaginally. Expect some vaginal bleeding in the first few days after surgery. Your body will need to get rid of the extra blood and tissue it built up to support your baby. You’ll also probably experience menstrual cramps as your uterus contracts to its normal size.

Takes things slowly

Remember that you just went through a pretty major surgery. Your incision will probably hurt when you sneeze, cough, or laugh, and most doctors recommend that you hold or cushion your abdomen to protect it. Also remember to take things slowly and don’t pick up anything heavier than your newborn. This includes your other children. Cabin-fever induced chores or picking up a three-year-old may extend your recovery time.

Additionally, recovery may take longer than you think. Prepare to spend 4 days in the hospital post-delivery. It will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for you to fully recover.

Pain is normal

The cramps, vaginal bleeding, and incision can hurt a lot. Don’t feel like you have to put on a brave face. Most pain medications, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are safe for breastfeeding mothers. If the incision is especially painful, a heating pad may help relieve the discomfort.

One more ingredient for a good C-section recovery? A knowledgeable and compassionate doctor. Dr. Macey will make sure you and your baby start out on the right track. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Dr. John Macey today.

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