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Overview

What's a caesarean section birth

A caesarean section is an operation to deliver your baby through a cut made in your tummy and womb (or uterus).  A caesarean section is a major operation, it is done only when it is the safest option for you and your baby.

Walking/Moving after Caesarean Section

Following the operation, it is important that you allow your body some rest in order to recover.  Because you had an abdominal operation, you may be tired, do not expect too much too soon.  Early movement – sitting in place or walking is however, encouraged if you feel comfortable after 4 – 6 hours of delivery.  Early movement causes faster bowel recovery and less problems like building up of gas in the bowels.  It also reduces the chances of forming clots in the legs.

Walking/Moving after Caesarean Section

Day 1

Moving :- Try to change position regularly to prevent stiffness.  When walking, try to stand up straight.

To get out of bed :- Roll on to your side.  Move your legs off the edge and push yourself up sideways on your elbow, supporting your tummy with the other hand if needed.  

Do reverse to get back into bed.  Sit on the edge of the bed, lie on your side, bring your legs onto the bed and roll yourself onto your back.

Trying to sit up from lying and lowering yourself back is likely to be uncomfortable.

Moving out of bed after caesarean section

Chest Care

Take two or three deep breaths hourly to allow full lung expansion.  When coughing, sneezing or laughing, bend your knees and support your caesarean site with your hands to prevent pain.  Using a pillow or a folded towel may provide additional support.

Bladder Care

After the catheter is removed, it is important to pass urine within 4 hours.  This is important because it prevents bladder from over stretching and getting damaged.

In the first week after caesarean section, you may not notice the fullness of bladder, so try to pass urine every 2 – 3 hours when you are awake to avoid damage to bladder.

If  you have difficulties :- Passing urine, emptying bladder or if you do not pass a good amount of urine, consult the doctor or the nurse for help.

Trapped Wind

If you experience discomfort in your tummy or shoulders after the operation, it may be because of trapped wind.

The following may help :

  • Massaging your stomach gently in a clockwise direction, supporting your stitches with the other hand.
  • Lie on the bed with knees bent up and feet on the bed; roll your knees gently from the side to side.
  • Walking and moving little and often.

Constipation

A lot of women experience constipation after caesarean delivery.  The following tips may be of help :-

  • Try to drink atleast 1 – 2 litres of fluid daily.
  • Walking or moving may help.
  • Avoid relying on laxatives; use only for short term.
  • Avoid toilet where squatting is required as it increases pressure on the stitches.
  • Sit on the toilet in a way that will help your posture and avoid discomfort.  It will also help pass  poo.  Sit as shown in the picture :
    1. Feel supported on a box 4 – 6 inches high.
    2. Lean forward
    3. Relax pelvic floor muscles, breathe into your tummy and allow it to flo forward.
    4. Lean back, rest, lean forward and try again.

 

Correct toilet position after caesarean section

Lifting Weight after Caesarean Section

It is advised not to lift anything heavier than the newborn baby for four to six weeks after caesarean section.  It takes for the cut part to heal and regain around 50 percent of the normal strength around four to six weeks after the operation.  Heavy lifting and lifting from a squat position confer the greatest increases in intraabdominal pressure.  Heavy lifting causes stress on the healing process and should be avoided for atleast 6 weeks after caesarean section.

Lifting your baby

  • To lift, pull in your stomach and pelvic floor muscles, bend from the knees and keep your back straight.  Keep the load close to your body as you lift up.
  • Try to avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby (or more than 4 kilograms) during the first four weeks.
Having Toddlers :-
  • Having toddlers :- If you have young children / toddler(s) at home, avoid picking them.  Encourage them to climb up to you while you are sitting.
Wrong baby lifting after caesarean section
Correct baby lifting after caesarean section

Going Home

Remember that you had an operation and it will take time for you to heal, so increase your level of activity gradually as you feel able to.

You may feel very tired when you go home, so don’t overdo it, pace yourself and limit your visitors.  Allow yourself time to rest and recover.  

Try to sleep when your baby sleeps.

Wound/Scar Management

After 2 weeks of C. Section, when the scar has healed, you can begin gentle scar tissue massage.

Massage is used to desensitize, break up tissue fibres, relieve itching, stretch the scar and move excessive fluid.

Your doctor will generally tell you if you have any issues which don’t allow you scar massage.  Otherwise, ask your doctor for the same.

  • Lie flat on your back allowing your muscles to relax.
  • Gently massage a non – perfumed moisturiser into your scar two or three times a day to hydrate the skin and make it supple.
  • use your finger – tip to rotate the scar in a circular motion, slow but firm for approximately 20 – 30 times, more if the scar feels harder. 

Breast Feeding :

  • Sit in a comfortable chair with your back well supported.  A chair with arms may provide you with more support.  You may benefit from having a thin pillow or folded towel behind your waist.
  • When sitting on the bed to feed, make sure not to bend your back and keep your back well supported.  Having an arm – rest would provide additional comfort.
  • Place pillows on your lap to bring the baby upto the level of your breasts to avoid slouching.
  • Try to rest back when you’re feeding and relax your shoulders.
  • Lying on your side can also be a comfortable position for feeding.
Correct breast - feeding position
Wrong breast - feeding position

Changing and bathing :

  • Adapt working surfaces to waist height to prevent you from bending repeatedly and developing backache.  For example, having a diaper changing station at the waist height.
  • Similarly, bathe your baby on a surface at the right height for you.
Correct baby changing position

Household Work

  • Avoid activities that cause strain to your abdomen and pelvic floor during the first few weeks, e.g. prolonged standing.
  • In the first 6 weeks, avoid heavy lifting, e.g. a basket of wet clothes or dishes. 

Driving after Caesarean Section

  • You may return to driving after 6 weeks of Caesarean section.
  • Before you start driving, make sure you feel comfortable and you can concentrate.  Avoid driving if you have not had a good sleep and are not able to concentrate.
  • You should avoid driving if you have pain with the normal activities required of a driver (eg. turning the body or head, stepping on the brake/accelerator, steering). 

Baby Safety In Car

  • It is important to ensure safety of the baby in the car by using an age appropriate child restraint, for example, a baby car seat, like the one shown on the side.

Return to Sport

  • It is safe to swim after 6 weeks of Caesarean section.
  • Low impact exercises, such as yoga, low resistance gym work can be started gradually after 8 weeks.
  • High impact exercises, such as aerobics, running or resistance / weight training can be started gradually after 12 weeks.

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