Recovering from a Cesarean Section
A c-section is major abdominal surgery and it will take time to recover. A number of nerves are cut during the procedure, and it can take up to six months for all of the nerves in the abdominal area to heal completely. Some women continue to experience numbness, tingling, and odd shooting pains around their scar for months after delivery. Some women feel fine after just a few weeks and others take two to three months to feel ‘normal’. Here is what you can expect in terms of recovery.
The First Few Days After Surgery
After your c-section, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored for any complications. You will likely stay in the hospital for two to three days. During this time, you will be given pain medication to help with the discomfort. You will also be encouraged to get up and walk around as soon as possible to prevent blood clots from forming.
You can expect some numbness around your incision site as well as some shooting pains. This is normal and will improve over time as the nerves heal. The numbing sensation is caused by the fact that the nerves were cut during surgery and they need time to grow back together. The shooting pains are caused by the nerves ‘jumping’ as they try to reconnect. This too is normal and will improve with time.
The First Few Weeks After Surgery
Once you are home from the hospital, you will need to take it easy for at least a week or two. Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby and don’t do anything that might put a strain on your incision site. You can expect some bruising and swelling around your incision which will resolve itself over time. Again, you may also experience some numbness, tingling and odd shooting pains as the nerves continue to heal but this should all start to improve within a few weeks.
A Month or More After Surgery – The Road to Recovery
By this point, most of the pain and discomfort should have resolved itself but you may still experience some numbness and tingling from time to time. Most women feel back to their old selves within six weeks but it can take up to three months for all of the nerve endings in the area to completely heal. Every woman’s body is different so don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel ‘normal’ right away – it takes time!
Caring for Your Incision Site
It is important to care for your incision site properly during your recovery period. Keep an eye out for any signs of infection such as redness, swelling or discharge from the incision site. If you notice any of these signs, call your doctor right away. It is also important to keep your incision site clean and dry – showering is fine but avoids soaking in a tub or swimming pool until your doctor gives you the go-ahead (usually around 6 weeks). When drying off after a shower, be sure to pat – don’t rub – the area dry with a clean towel. And lastly, avoid wearing tight clothing that might put pressure on or irritate your incision site.