Caesarean dos and don’ts

Having and recovering from a c-section is tough. Make it easier by following these guidelines...

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  • Do...

    ...check your car insurance. Some companies won’t let you drive for six weeks after a c-section.

    ...keep an eye on your wound. It’s very common (but also normal) for wounds to ooze around day 10 or 11 as part of the healing process.

    ...accept the painkillers you’re offered. They’ll help with any post- operation pain you might experience.

    ...persevere with breastfeeding. Yes, it can be a little more painful at first after a c-section, but try out different positions to see what’s most comfortable for you. Cushions can often help.

  • Do... realistic about your recovery. In general it will take about six weeks for all your tissues to heal.

    ...expect bad wind. It’s common in the first few days after a c-section. Try fennel tea to ease it, as well as avoiding greasy or spicy food, and fizzy drinks.

    ...check with your midwife before you start exercising. She’ll know how well your scar is healing and your uterus is contracting and be able to advise you when it’s safe to do a little gentle exercise, and what you can manage.Generally you can start exercising six to eight weeks after a c-section.

  • Don't...

    ...go it alone. You'll need help once you're back at home to avoid straining your stitches (by lifting other children you might have, for example), so do accept any offers from your partner, mum or best friends.

  • Don't...

    ... hunch over. You’ll probably feel like your stitches will pop if you stand up straight with your shoulders back. But they won’t and straightening up will strengthen and stretch your tummy muscles, helping your recovery.

    ...spend too much time going up and down the stairs. They’ll put strain on your abdomen, so try to organise your day and baby gear so you can just come down in the morning and then go up at night.  

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  • Did you know...

    • Before you’re wheeled into the operating theatre for your c-section, the midwife will shave some of your pubic hair in readiness for the incision.
    • Some mums describe the sensation of having a baby by caesarean as feeling like someone’s washing lettuce inside their tummy.
    • After the op, you’ll be given some quite strong painkillers, which can make you feel very light-headed for a short time.
  • Did you know...

    • It’s great to breastfeed once you’re in the recovery room to help bonding. But you’ll probably find lying on your side the most comfy position. Try to have someone with you when you first do it, so you can get in position and then get them to hand the baby to you.
    • As your baby bump disappears, you’re likely to be left for a short time with a ‘caesarean overhang’ where the skin above your scar sticks out more than below your scar. Don’t worry – it will flatten out soon enough. And your scar will slowly fade too.
    • Having a c-section doesn’t mean you won’t be able to have a vaginal birth next time. Around 70% of mums who have a caesarean go on to have a vaginal birth, known as VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean).


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