10 Ways to Heal Faster From a C-Section

Nearly 1 in 3 women will have their babies delivered through a cesarean section, so it has become more and more important to know the ins and outs of the procedure. There are many things a new mother can do to help the healing process right after undergoing a C-section.

We at Bright Side always want to give a hand to new mothers and parents out there, so we’re sharing what you should do after undergoing a C-section.

1. Take probiotics and eat fermented food.

Antibiotics given to a mother during surgery can impact the healthy bacteria in the gut. Because of this, a C-section mother should ask her doctor about probiotics, or live bacteria, to help restore healthy gut flora. This can help improve immunity and even prevent diarrhea. Fermented food can also have similar benefits.

2. Go for walks.

Once your doctor allows you to start exercising, take short walks for about 30 minutes at a time. Walking can release gas, increase circulation, reduce the risk for blood clots, improve bowel functions, and help the body to recover. In some cases, a mother might be recommended to go for short walks as soon as her first day back home.

3. Avoid inflammatory foods.

Nutrition is important for new mothers. Limit inflammatory foods like red meat, white bread, and fried foods. Try foods that are anti-inflammatory like berries, kale, broccoli, nuts, and seeds. Foods with amino acids, like chicken and salmon, can also help repair tissue.

4. Try painkillers.

It’s normal for a mother to have pain even as long as 2 weeks after a C-section. Doctors will likely prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen, which might need to be taken as much as 4 times a day for 2 weeks. Ask your doctor about medication, especially to determine what will be strong enough to address specific pain.

5. Get plenty of rest.

Rest is important after any serious surgery and a C-section is no exception. Of course, it’s not easy to get much sleep when you have a newborn in the house. Ideally, a new mother should try to sleep when the child sleeps and get help from loved ones to make time to take a nap. While the workload that comes with tending to a new baby might be overwhelming, rest is just too important for your health to give up.

6. Get support for breastfeeding.

If a new mother is planning to breastfeed, she should look at getting support if she had a C-section since the procedure has been linked to an increased risk of breastfeeding difficulties. Support comes in many forms like a breastfeeding chair, a special cushion, or even a lactation consultant. All these things can help a new mother successfully breastfeed or even reduce pain.

7. Fight constipation.

After a C-section, a new mother can be at risk for constipation due to hormonal shifts, tired stomach muscles, and even something as simple as lying down too much. Not only can this be painful, it can also injure the procedure’s incision. To fight this, you should drink plenty of water, eat food rich in fiber such as fresh fruit, and can even ask your doctor to prescribe a stool softener.

8. Watch for signs of infection.

After surgery, it’s important to monitor yourself for any signs of infection. New mothers should check their temperature every 24 hours and be mindful of swelling, intense pain, red streaks, or chills. If these symptoms appear, you should contact a doctor or an emergency room.

9. Use pads for vaginal bleeding.

Even though a cesarean delivery takes the place of a vaginal one, the new mother can still have vaginal bleeding, also known as lochia, during the first month after childbirth as a result. You should use pads to absorb the bleeding. Generally, you should avoid using a douche or tampon, as they could cause an infection unless doing so was prescribed by your doctor. New mothers who have excessive vaginal bleeding, a foul smell, or a fever should contact their doctor as soon as possible.

10. Manage your emotions.

Giving birth, via cesarean delivery or not, can be an emotionally-taxing process, even in the aftermath since new mothers may feel guilt or shame. If you have these feelings, there are many ways for you to get help with these feelings, like going to a therapist or online support meetings. When it comes to getting help, early intervention and support can prevent the risk of postpartum depression.

Bonus: How should you take care of a C-section scar?

When it comes to healing, many mothers might also want to treat and possibly minimize their scar. There are actually different types of scars that mothers can have and could impact treatment options.

  • The uterus scar is usually closed using dissolvable stitches. The skin scar can be closed by staples, stitches, or surgical glue. Asking your doctor to use glue can help minimize the appearance of the scar and quicken the healing process, but it’s not always an option. Many factors, even abdominal fat and skin, can influence the doctor’s decision.
  • Clean it using soapy water, letting it drip on the wound. Do not scrub the area, but gently pat it dry with a towel.
  • Expose the area to air, especially by wearing loose clothing. That said, the scar should be kept out of direct sunlight.
  • Ask your doctor if you can apply antibiotic or petroleum jelly.

Different methods can help minimize the appearance of the scar, but plans should be approved by a doctor beforehand.

  • Silicone scar sheets can help soften and flatten the scars. However, they should only be used around a month after the procedure. Silicone gels and creams can also have a similar effect.
  • In more serious cases, laser therapy, steroid injections, and even surgery like a tummy tuck might be needed to reduce the appearance of the scar.

What are some tips you recommend for mothers after undergoing a cesarean delivery? Share them with us in the comments.

Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for Bright Side
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