After Cesarean Surgery: The Early Days

July 4, 2010

Do you lie awake at night wondering and fearing you will end up needing to have a cesarean delivery? Or have you already been scheduled for an elective cesarean? Not getting caught blind-sided is half the battle of coping with the necessity of a C-Section. We may not be able to help you get out of surgery, but we can at least prepare you with the facts. This article is meant to prepare you for the first few days after surgery.

After a C-Section

When the surgery is over, you might feel groggy and nauseated. The nausea should go within 2 days, but if you're really feeling lousy, don't suffer: ask for medication. If you were given narcotics, you might be suffering from general itching, all over your body. If you're going nuts with itching, ask the nurses for medication that can give you relief.

At first, a nurse will be checking in on you every few hours. She'll check your blood pressure and other vital signs, massage your abdomen to see if your uterus is contracting, and keep a watch on the extent of your bleeding. Even though your delivery was by cesarean section, you will experience vaginal bleeding which will remain bright red during the early days after your surgery.

The nurse will teach you breathing exercises and show you how to cough to clear your lungs of fluid that can accumulate after surgery. These activities will prevent you from getting post-surgery pneumonia.

Assuming there are no problems, the nurse will take out your IV and urine catheter 12 hours after your surgery. You'll be given bland foods.

You may be able to nurse your baby as soon as your surgery is over. Ask the nurse to assist you in positioning the baby so no pressure is placed on your incision.

Your incision will waver between feeling sore and numb. If you see a sneeze, cough, or laugh coming on, hold a pillow to your incision, or press your hands there.

Frequent Urination after a Cesarean

Frequent urination can also cut down on your abdominal pressure and this will speed your healing time. Your scar will be dark and puffy compared to the skin surrounding your incision. A physician will be checking your wound and your progress every day. 

During the first 48 hours, you will experience gas pain and bloating. Moving around or walking will rev up your digestive tract so you get some pain relief. If the pain is unbearable, ask the nurse about medication. OTC medications that contain simethicone can help you expel the gas so you feel better.

Even before the nurse helps you stand up, you can get your circulation going by wiggling your toes, stretching your legs, and rotating your ankles. Brief walks during the second day should be permitted as long as someone accompanies you. Take the walks about a quarter of an hour after you take your pain medication.

Staples or stitches are removed during the first 4 days after surgery. This may pinch a bit. If your recovery is on schedule, you will be released and can return home.

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