Postpartum: Recovering From a Cesarean Birth

Tips on Healing
Cesarean birth is major abdominal surgery. New mothers need and deserve to have extra support during this special time of birth and healing. Women who have experienced either a planned or unplanned cesarean section react to the surgery in very individual ways. Some women physically heal very quickly, others report that recovery took several weeks or even months. Avoid putting time limits on yourself. Emotionally, women's feelings about their cesarean sections vary in range from acceptance, to disappointment, to devastation. Some women need as much emotional support as physical support for a healthy recovery. Each woman heals and grows into her new role of motherhood at her own pace. In time, you will regain your energy level and sense of well being.

To Relieve Pain and Assist Physical Healing:
At Hospital:
-- Ask for physical assistance, and keep nurses' call button within easy reach.
-- Take pain medication as needed for comfort. Try to avoid pain medications containing codeine as they cause constipation, making it hard to void after cesarean surgery.
-- If possible, obtain a private room so that a family member may remain with you.
-- Use pillows to support your abdomen when turning, standing, coughing, and when feeding the baby.
-- Rest as much as possible and limit visitors. Sleep when baby sleeps.
-- Rock in a rocking chair as soon as possible after surgery -- to speed recovery and reduce gas.
-- Take short walks.
-- Eat nutritious food and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid cold and carbonated beverages.
-- The surgery will slow down your digestive tract, to help with constipation, try an over-the-counter stool softener, not a laxative.
-- Each time you stand after the surgery stretch up to uncramp stomach muscles and reduce adhesions.

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