You will be moved into the recovery room to be watched to check that you are recovering from the operation. So what to expect?
Pain around the incision
Once the anaesthetic has worn off then expect some discomfort around the incision. You will be given pain relief as needed and this may make you feel a bit woozy. The medication should not pass through your breastmilk, if that is how you plan to feed the baby, so don’t worry.
Bahbabelle tip; Don’t be a hero and keep on top of your pain medication. It will help you heal faster and feel better if you manage any discomfort that you are in.
This will not be affected by the operation. The baby may be a bit sleepy so knowing that and then giving them a little extra time before that first feed is a good idea.
Ask for anti nausea medication if this happens.
You may well be prescribed antibiotics either through an IV to take in hospital or orally. These are designed to help minimise the risk of any infection in your scar. If you have a history of reacting to antibiotics then make sure your doctor is aware. Should you be planning to breastfed and have developed fungal infections from medicine before then please inform your medical team so they can prescribe the correct medication for you (this is to avoid you developing thrush when you breastfeed).
You are likely to feel weak after the surgery partly due to blood loss, partly anaesthesia, partly due to the exhaustion and emotions of the day. You have just had a baby!
Regular checks by medical staff
A nurse/midwife will periodically check your vitals (temperature, blood pressure, pulse, breathing), your bleeding will be checked as will your urinary output (until you have regained feeling in your legs the catheter will stay in).
Once they are happy that your vitals are stable you will be moved to your room. There will then be:-
Your condition will continue to be monitored by medical staff.
Encouragement to move
About 8 – 24 hours a midwife will help you sit up in bed and you will then put your feet over the side. You may feel dizzy at this or the next stage which is standing up but this will ease off.
Rolling over may be painful
There are techniques to use as it can be sore in the first few days.
- From your back to your side – draw your knees up
- Lift your hips off the bed by pressing your feet into it.
- With raised hips turn hips, legs and shoulders to one side – this avoids straining your incision.
Or tie a scarf to the rail at the side of the bed and use that to pull yourself into position.
Try to eat
Research has shown that the sooner you eat solids than the sooner you will have your first bowel movement. So try and eat something light, fruit, salad or soup is a great idea. Keep up the fluids especially if you are breastfeeding.
Maybe constipation or gas?
The drugs that you will have had for the c-section as well as the procedure itself can cause constipation so you may be given stool softener. You may also have some painful gassiness (colic effectively) again due to the procedure and this may not be helped by the constipation. You can ask for medication to relieve these but also having your stomach rubbed in a clockwise motion can help as can holding your knees to your chest and taking deep breaths (incision allowing of course).
Removal of stitches
If your stitches aren’t self absorbing then you will have them removed around day 4-5. This is a good time to check that you are healing ok and ask any questions to the medical staff about wound care.
Get to meet your baby!
The best bit of the whole thing – you will be encouraged to say hello and feed them to establish the bond between the two of you. Be prepared that you may not be able to change that first nappy or do that first bath if you are still recovering from the operation.
Mentally deal with what has happened.
If your c-section was an emergency then you may be feeling a whole host of emotions and that is absolutely fine and normal. You may be relieved and you may be disappointed that you did not get the birth you planned for. If you are upset or worried about the situation then talk to your caregiver, partner, friends, doula or counsellor. Many women go onto have vaginal births after a caesarean so discuss this with your doctor when the time comes.