Like any new mother, you will be feeling euphoric when you hold your newborn in your arms for the first time. But this feeling of indescribable happiness will not entirely take away from the fact that you’ve just undergone major abdominal surgery, and need to convalesce accordingly. Here are three things to remember when recovering from a caesarean section.
Get plenty of rest
You will probably stay in the hospital for at least two days (if not three or four) to recover from your surgery. During this time it is normal to feel sluggish and even a walk to the bathroom will seem impossible. But it’s important to get the blood flowing back to your legs and feet, so do some gentle ankle rolls and leg movements while in the bed.
Following that, your body will take up to six weeks to heal, and you’ll need rest to aid that. Which is much easier said than done with a newborn baby in the house! But do enlist help wherever possible to ensure you get the recovery time that you need. Ask a friend, parent or sibling to help you with household tasks and food preparation. The less time you spend on your feet, the more time you can spend cuddling with your newborn.
“At the time I was sure I was losing my mind – hadn’t I just been given the most unbelievable gift of a beautiful baby boy? – but some months later I realised it was the dreaded ‘baby blues’.” You can read Penney’s account of the baby blues here.
After giving birth, you’ll also be dealing with regular postpartum symptoms like engorged, tender breasts, mood swings, and vaginal discharge. This vaginal discharge is called lochia, which consists of blood, bacteria, and tissue from the lining of your uterus. For the first few days, this discharge will be bright red.
You may feel very up and down after giving birth. Regardless of how a woman has given birth, many women experience postpartum blues, or a more serious condition postpartum depression. Seek professional help if you feel too overwhelmed to care for your baby, or if you have thoughts of self-harm.
Recovering from a caesarean section takes time, so you may feel frustrated that you’re not recovering quick enough. Remember that it takes at least six weeks to recover from major surgery, and that’s without a newborn to care for or postpartum issues to deal with. Cut yourself some slack and remember that this too shall pass.
Soon you’ll be out and about and enjoying life with your new baby!