Beyond The 'C'
Expert advice on recovering from a Cesarean section
3. Prepare to take it easy at home.
"Don't drive for at least one week after delivery, limit stair climbing, and avoid heavy housework," says Henry Lerner, M.D., an OB-GYN in Newton, Mass., and a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. Remember:You had major surgery, and you need to take it easy!
The age-old advice—don't lift anything heavier than your baby for two weeks—still stands. The staples that are commonly used to close the incision will probably be removed within three to seven days of delivery, but even then, it's important to avoid any strenuous activity for the first two weeks. Also pay attention to the following symptoms of infection; if you have any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- Fever above 100.4 °F
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Pain at the incision site that gets worse instead of better
- Blood or other fluid draining from your incision
- Reddened edges around your incision
4. Embrace your baby's birth.
For women who planned and hoped for a vaginal delivery, having a C-section can be emotionally devastating and bring about feelings of failure. "You may be overjoyed at the birth of your child but still feel like you failed or your body failed you, and you may have trouble reconciling those feelings," Edelman says. If you just can't come to terms with your C-section, visit Postpartum Support International at postpartum.net. They'll guide you to support groups and even counselors who specialize in this area.