Recovering from a c-section

If your baby is born by c-section it will take time to recover. Here's what to expect...

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Whether your caesearean was planned, or unplanned, recovering from the operation will take several weeks. You’ll feel sore and there’s the scar to deal with, and you’ve got a new baby to look after.

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After the operation

Once your baby is born, you should be given her to hold straight away and around five minutes later the doctor will lift the placenta out. The obstetrician will then stitch you back up. This takes longer than the actual caesarean – normally around 20 minutes.

Your catheter may be left in after the operation and you may also have a drain put into your wound to take off any excess fluid.

“I’ve had two caesareans. Bradley was an emergency c-section. I was in hospital for a few days and recovery was quite slow. I had an elective c-section with William and after 48 hours I was out of hospital and back to normal more quickly,” says Jackie Scarff, 40, from Battle-on-Sea, mum to Rozzie, 8, Bradley, 7, and William, 10 months

“All I could feel during my emergency c-section was a slight tugging motion. My recovery was swift – I was released after a week. I had no ill effects and my scar was really small and neat. I couldn’t walk far, or lift many things, but it didn’t take long to recover,” says Charu Lehner, 39, from Blackburn, mum to Alisha Marie, 14 months.

Bonding with your new baby

If both you and your baby appear to be fine, you’ll be taken to a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse and oxygen rate will be monitored. At this stage you’ll be encouraged to hold and feed your baby.

Don’t be surprised if she doesn’t show much interest. Babies delivered by c-section may be a little groggy to begin with, but you’ll have plenty of time to establish breastfeeding over the next few days.

When the medical team are happy you’re not suffering any ill effects from the operation, they’ll take you and your baby to the post-natal ward. You’ll be encouraged to get out of bed and look after your baby, although you may need help lifting her.

“I’ve had two c-sections. Christin was breech so I was advised to have one and I opted for an elective with Julia. My mum came to help me after both the girls were born, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive or lift things. I really wanted a natural delivery the first time and worried that I wouldn’t be as good a mother, but I think you bond with your baby just as well as when you have a vaginal birth,” said Werda Haccingh, 39, from Southborough in Kent, mum to Christin, 4, and Julia, 22 months.

Going home

When you go home is largely up to you. “Women used to have to stay in hospital for at least five days after a caesarean, but now some go home after just 48 hours if breastfeeding is going well,” says Mervi. “If you do go home early, it’s vital you have proper midwife support, as she will need to make sure your wound is healing properly.”

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