About C-Section Recovery
Here are some facts about c-section recovery and how C-Panty was designed to speed healing and increase comfort after caesarean surgery.
- How will I feel after a c-section delivery?
- What's c-section recovery like during the first few days?
- What's c-section recovery like after I leave the hospital?
- What will my c-scar be like?
- How should I care for my c-scar?
- How long does it take for my belly to begin to flatten?
- How does compression in panties aid in my recovery?
- What is a “c-shelf” and how can I avoid it?
- How active should I expect to be?
- Emotionally speaking, what should I expect?
- What is an “elective” c-section?
- What is a VBAC (Vaginal birth after c-section)?
- Can C-Panty be used after other abdominal surgeries like a hysterectomy?
How will I feel after a c-section delivery?
Like any new mother, you'll probably feel both euphoric about and overwhelmed by the new person in your arms. But you'll also be recovering from major abdominal surgery while dealing with typical postpartum issues such as engorged breasts, mood swings, and vaginal discharge.
C-section patients typically stay in the hospital for two to four days before going home. But your c-section recovery will be measured in weeks, not days, so you'll need help taking care of yourself and your new baby. What's more, if you have other children, they may be feeling needy after you've been away from them for a few days – to say nothing of the fact that you're returning home with a new baby! Plan to get all the help you can.
What's c-section recovery like during the first few days?
You may feel numbness and soreness at the incision site, and the scar will be slightly raised, puffy, and darker than your natural skin tone. Your doctor will come by daily to see how you're doing and check that the wound is healing properly.
Anything that puts pressure on the abdominal area will probably be painful at first, but you'll feel a bit better day-by-day. Be sure to use your hands or a pillow to support your incision when you cough, sneeze, or laugh.
Your nurse will come by every few hours at first to check on you and help you. She'll take your vital signs, feel your belly to make sure your uterus is firm, and assess the amount of vaginal bleeding. Like any woman who just delivered a baby, you'll have a vaginal discharge called lochia, which consists of blood, bacteria, and sloughed-off tissue from the lining of your uterus. For the first few days, this discharge will be bright red.
Your nurse will also instruct you on how to cough or do deep breathing exercises to expand your lungs and clear them of any accumulated fluid, which is particularly important if you've had general anesthesia. This will reduce the risk of pneumonia.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to drink fluids – and start eating a light diet if you feel like it – within six to eight hours after your surgery. In some cases, though, your doctor may recommend waiting longer before eating.
You might have some gas pain and bloating during the first two days. Gas tends to build up because the intestines are sluggish after surgery. Getting up and moving around will help your digestive system get going again.
You will be encouraged to get out of bed at least a couple of times the day after surgery – or even the day of surgery – to walk. (Do not, however, attempt to get up by yourself. The nurse should be at your side the first few times.) In the meantime, get the blood going in your legs by wiggling your feet, rotating your ankles, and moving and stretching your legs.
Just walking to the bathroom may seem impossible at first, but moving around is important for your c-section recovery. It will help your circulation and make it much less likely that you'll develop blood clots. What's more, it will make your bowels less sluggish, which will help you feel a whole lot more comfortable a lot sooner.
For these reasons, you'll be encouraged to walk each day. Try to take your walks a short time after you've taken pain medication, when you're likely to feel more comfortable.
It's also important to get to the bathroom to urinate regularly. A full bladder makes it harder for the uterus to stay contracted and increases pressure on the wound.
You need to wait about a week to wear C-Panty or you can cover the silicone panel with a pad or panty liner and begin use as tolerated. As with any post-surgical product, get your doctor's ok.
What's c-section recovery like after I leave the hospital?
Expect to need help – and lots of it – once you get home. If nobody offers, ask for support from your partner, parents, in-laws, and friends. If you're worried that you may not have enough support, hire paid help if you can afford it.
You'll likely be given a prescription for more painkillers and a stool softener before you leave the hospital. You may need prescription painkillers for up to a week after surgery, gradually transitioning to over-the-counter pain relievers. (If you're breastfeeding, don't take aspirin or drugs containing acetylsalicylic acid.)
Drink plenty of fluids to help you avoid constipation. Your incision will likely feel better day-by-day, quite noticeably so after several days, though it may continue to be tender for several weeks.
- warmth, redness, swelling, or oozing at the incision site
- worsening pain or sudden onset of pain
- any fever (even if your incision looks fine)
- foul smelling vaginal discharge
- pain or burning when urinating, the urge to pee frequently when not a lot comes out, or urine that is dark and scanty or bloody
- Your vaginal bleeding and discharge should be diminishing, though it may last up to six weeks. It should gradually turn from bright red to pink and then yellow-white. If menstrual-type bleeding continues past the first four days after delivery or comes back after slowing, call your healthcare provider.
- You'll also need to call your caregiver without delay if you have any signs of a blood clot, such as severe or persistent pain or tenderness and warmth in one area of your leg, or one leg that is more swollen than the other.
- For more information on warning signs of a medical problem in the weeks after delivery, see our article on when to call your practitioner.
Get your C-Panty today and help with your c-section recovery
What will my c-scar be like?
YOUR C-SECTION INCISION WILL CONTINUE TO MATURE FOR UP TO 1 YEAR AFTER SURGERY.
Although most of us feel much better before then, remember that a gentle c-section recovery curve exists for quite some time so some patience may be in order. *Follow your MD's directions for lifting and tasks!!
- Week 1: Inflammatory Stage: Active phase where cellular "workers" rush into the area to begin recovery. This is where you really feel that you had surgery!
- Month 1-3: Proliferative Stage: Initial rebuilding period. New collagen and capillaries form. Swelling may still be fairly active. These are the days that you feel recovery progressing but still need to take it pretty easy!
- Up to Year 1: Remodeling Stage: "Finish carpenters" are tidying up. Collagen has reformed, the scar is maturing. This is where you feel better and better, but have days where you still remember that you had surgery. Many moms report recovery leaps at 3 months and 6 months. Common complaints at this time in the c-section recovery phase are itching or occasional soreness around the scar after active days. Those with keloids or symptomatic scars can have a longer remodeling period.
C-Panty is washable as a delicate for a year to encompass the full wound healing stages. Wearing C-Panty throughout your full c-section recovery (up to 12 months) can help you achieve the best results.
How should I care for my c-scar?
Compression, scar massage and silicone therapy are three natural, non-surgical ways to minimize the c-scar’s appearance. Silicone therapy, along with minimizing appearance and scar size, also helps reduce itching, burning and redness (this is why we have it in our panties!) If you have an especially ropey, thick or sensitive scar you can try scar massage as well, but please get your MDs approval first.
Only begin scar massage after full wound closure with no scab remaining.
- Provide gentle fingertip pressure on the scar with or without your choice of oil or lotion.
- Make small circles and up/down strokes (about 1 cm of glide) along the incision and then reverse for a total of 2-3 minutes, 2-3 times per day.
- Spend more time on thick areas and move in a direction to place gentle tension on where you feel resistance.
- It should not be painful or cause any swelling or discomfort after stopping!
Get your C-Panty today and help with your c-section recovery
How long does it take for my belly to begin to flatten?
IT TAKES 6 WEEKS FOR A UTERUS TO RETURN TO PRE-PREGNANCY SIZE.
Since a C-section entails an incision in the uterus and your clothing and intimates rest there, you have good reason to feel that your underwear and pant waistbands feel uncomfortable...even after the c-section incision is closed.
C-Panty's waistband is non-elastic and slightly fluted to avoid pressure and discomfort from traditional waistbands. (Yes moms, you can toss the mesh panties! No more digging waistbands!)
How does compression in panties aid in my c-section recovery?
Clinically, post-surgical compression is often recommended to support weakened tissues and control swelling. Compression for a loose post-partum belly and compression for surgical c-section recovery differ. Tummy control panties and abdominal binders provide support only for the abdominal muscles. For many moms that undergo a c-section, the support is too high and often too strong to be comfortable for an incision located lower in the torso at the uterus. Post-surgical compression should be localized to the c-section incision with the most compression focused at the surgical site so give weakened tissue the most support during c-section recovery. For comfortable abdominal support, our Tummy Cut will slim the post baby belly but also focus on the c-section incision area.
What is a “c-shelf” and how can I avoid it?
TISSUE CHANGES AND BODY TYPE (AND LUCK!) CAN AVOID THE DREADED C-SHELF.
The ever discussed c-shelf is the little (or not so little!) bulge some women experience around their c-section incision. First, for the moms frustrated at 2 months that they have a shelf, remember that you are still in the stages of wound healing as well as have weight changes from pregnancy and loose skin. These factors do get better over time as we know incisions and tissues mature over a year. That being said, a scar, the unavoidable result of surgery, and its more dense and adherent tissue properties can cause some pocketing around it which can show fat deposit more. Loose skin, genetics, recurrent surgeries and body type all contribute as well.
C-Panty smooth the c-shelf by providing targeted front of pelvic compression to help tuck that bulge in without the all over compression of a control panty.
Get your C-Panty today and help with your c-section recovery
How active should I expect to be?
While it's essential to get plenty of rest once you're home, you also need to get up and walk around regularly. Walking promotes healing and helps prevent complications such as blood clots.
Of course, you shouldn't overdo it. Start slowly and increase your activity gradually. Since you're recovering from major abdominal surgery, your belly will feel sore for some time. Take it easy and avoid heavy household work or lifting anything heavier than your baby for eight weeks.
In six to eight weeks, you'll be able to start exercising moderately – but wait until your caregiver gives you the go-ahead. It may be several months or longer before you're back to your former fit self.
You'll be able to resume sexual intercourse in about six weeks – if you're feeling comfortable enough and with your caregiver's okay. Talk to your practitioner about what kind of contraception will work best for you now. You may be able to resume using the birth control method you used in the past, or you may have to make some changes. For example, if you used a diaphragm before, you'll have to be fitted again because you may need a different size after being pregnant and giving birth.
Emotionally speaking, what should I expect?
Moms have a wide range of emotions after a c-section, so it's hard to predict how you'll feel. You might feel disappointed if you had your heart set on a vaginal birth. Or you might not care about how you gave birth, particularly if you had complications and were worried about your baby's well-being.
Some women who end up in surgery after a long, drawn-out labor feel a sense of relief, while others are upset that they ended up with a c-section after doing all that work. Many have mixed emotions.
Some moms say they feel cheated out of a vaginal delivery, especially if they took childbirth classes and fantasized about the "ideal birth." Others say they feel like they're somehow less of a woman because they needed a c-section.
These feelings are common and may be difficult to resolve. If you feel this way, it may take some time to reconcile the reality of your birth experience with what you'd imagined during your pregnancy.
It might help to know that many women find their baby's birth, whether vaginal or c-section, very different from what they expected. If you have nagging doubts about whether the surgery was really necessary, talk to your practitioner about it and ask him to review the decision with you.
Remember, too, that you're likely to have the range of emotions common to most mothers during the postpartum period, regardless of how they gave birth. Postpartum blues are common, whether you had a c-section or a vaginal birth, generally beginning a few days after delivery and lasting for a few days.
If the feelings don't go away on their own in the first few weeks or you find that you're feeling worse rather than better, be sure to call your caregiver and tell him your symptoms. You may be suffering from postpartum depression, a more serious problem that requires treatment, and he can give you a referral for help. If you think you might hurt yourself or your baby, or if you feel incapable of caring for your newborn, seek professional help immediately.
Finally, you may be frustrated if it seems to be taking you a long time to recover. Remember that just healing from surgery takes a significant amount of time and energy. Add to that all the postpartum changes your body is going through – along with your new round-the-clock parenting responsibilities – and you're bound to be in less-than-top condition for a while.
Try to cut yourself some slack and be patient. In time, you'll be feeling better and enjoying life with your new baby.
What is an “elective” c-section?
An elective c-section is one that is performed at the mother’s request without a medical need. An elective c-section is typically scheduled prior to the mother’s due date to avoid going into labor. Some women elect to have a c-section because there may be a decreased risk of pelvic floor injuries and incontinence. Here is an interesting article regarding elective c-sections. http://www.parenting.com/article/elective-c-sections
What is a VBAC?
If you have had a a c-section before, you may be able to deliver your next baby vaginally. This is called vaginal birth after c-section, or VBAC.
Most women, whether they deliver vaginally or by c-section, don't have serious problems from childbirth.
If you and your doctor agree to try a VBAC, you will have what is called a "trial of labor." This means that you plan to go into labor with the goal to deliver vaginally. But as in any labor, it is hard to know if a VBAC will work. You still may need a C-section. As many as 4 out of 10 women who have a trial of labor need to have a C-section..
Can C-Panty be used after other abdominal surgeries like a hysterectomy?
While originally designed to be worn after c-section, C-Panty's anatomical compression and silicone panel can help speed recovery and increase comfort after hysterectomy and other abdominal surgeries. Learn more about Hysterectomy recovery.
Get your C-Panty today and help speed your recovery after c-section.