What happens after a caesarean section?
Each person's recovery will be different, depending on the medical and obstetrical circumstances and general health of the patient.
In all cases, however, it is important to remember that a C/S is major abdominal surgery and that a new baby has been born which all means that one has to take things slowly. Hospitalisation may take anything from two to ten days and depends on the recovery of the patient and the condition of the baby.
To prevent patients from feeling postoperative pain from the incision, analgesic drugs (pain killers) will be prescribed which can be administered at regular intervals according to the degree of discomfort. The mother may also experience uterine contractions (the uterus will contract, particularly when breast feeding is started).
The catheter will be removed the next day, and the staples and/or stitches are usually taken out somewhere between day five and eight after the C/S. The patient will be encouraged to get out of bed early which will speed up recovery and prevent the development of thrombosis (blood clots in the veins).
When the mother is discharged from hospital, she should try to get help with her daily activities, taking care of her newborn baby and looking after her other children. She should avoid to lift heavy objects for six weeks because this may cause complications with the healing of the abdominal wound. Some doctors allow patients to drive a car after about two weeks, while others recommend to wait until a full six weeks.
By the end of the sixth week, the mother should be fully recovered and be able to resume most of her activities. The doctor should be asked about beginning an exercise programme to regain abdominal muscle tone and when to return for a postnatal check-up.Emotional changes
Most first-time mothers go through emotional changes when their baby is born. This can be due to a number of factors, including hormonal changes and stress. However, mothers who are also recovering from caesarean section may have more pronounced emotional changes. Many women who had a C/S say they feel a range of emotions. They can feel happy or relieved that their baby is safe, disappointed that they did not achieve a normal birth, annoyed at the circumstances or some people, or disconnected from the baby.