Here are some tips for healing immediately after the surgery.
These are straight off the ICAN website.
Healing in the hospital:
- Ask for assistance when you need it and keep the nurse’s call button within easy reach.
- If possible, obtain a private room so that a family member may remain with you.
- Take pain medication as needed for comfort. Many mothers have found that narcotics (like codeine) can manage pain very well but can also cause constipation. Ask your doctor about using a stool softener.
- Use pillows to support your stomach when turning, standing, coughing, and nursing.
- Rest as much as possible and limit visitors. Sleep when the baby sleeps.
- When you are ready, take short walks to prevent blood clots. If you cannot walk have someone massage your legs and ankles in bed, and keep your feet raised on a pillow. Also consider using medical support leg hose to prevent clotting if you cannot move or have to travel within six weeks of the cesarean.
- Eat healthy food and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid soda and drinking with a straw since that can make you swallow air and cause gas.
- Remember to urinate at least every 3 to 4 hours. This helps avoid or reduce the bladder pain that some mothers have after the surgery.
- If you are planning to breastfeed, talk to your nurse or a lactation consultant about positioning that will be comfortable around your incision. While some women experience a delay in their breast milk production after a cesarean, extra support will help you get a good start.
Healing at home:
- Take care of yourself and your baby only.
- Remember not to lift anything heavier than your baby for four to six weeks after surgery.
- Have a list of tasks ready for when people offer to help and don’t be shy to ask people for help.
- Let others do household chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Have frozen meals prepared.
- If you have other children, ask a family member or friend to help you with their daily routine.
- Consider enlisting the help of a postpartum doula or other support person for your recovery.
- Have several diapering areas so you can change your baby easily.
- Clothe yourself based on what you need. Staying in your pajamas can remind people that you are still recovering from birth and need extra help. On the other hand, taking a shower and getting dressed can help you feel refreshed and recharged.
- Keep the baby near you at night so you do not have to get up.
- Fill a basket full of little useful things that you can carry with you. Items can include healthy snacks, your medications, a book, lotion, or a cordless phone.
- Eat well and drink plenty of fluids. Have a pitcher of water or juice near you.
- Increase activity slowly.
Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Any bleeding in your incision. It can mean the surgical stitches have separated.
- Unrelieved pain, or if the pain has increased.
- Pus, leaking, redness and swelling in your incision, which can indicate an infection.
- A fever can also suggest an infection, most likely in your incision.
- Pain or cramping in your arms or legs that will not go away is a serious symptom and can suggest the presence of a blood clot. Other symptoms can include sudden swelling in the arm or leg, red or discolored skin, and skin that is warm to the touch.
- Continuous headaches, dizziness or back pain could suggest after-effects of the anesthesia used during surgery.
- Symptoms of postpartum depression can include tearfulness, anxiety, appetite changes, sleep problems, extreme fatigue, and difficulty focusing your thoughts, among others.
- Keep your baby near you as much as possible.
- Vitamin E capsules can improve the skin on the cesarean scar. Wait until the scar has healed, open a capsule, pour the oil on the scar and rub slowly.
- Share your feelings with others who understand how you feel and talk about your experience as much as you feel necessary.
- Write the story of your experience, with as much detail as possible.
- Seek support from available resources including breastfeeding, parenting, and cesarean support groups like ICAN. Look for an ICAN chapter near you or join the online ICAN community.
For more support:Call ICAN toll-free: 1(800)866-ICAN(4226)
For the ICAN website: http://www.ican-online.org
To find an ICAN chapter near you: http://ican-online.org/chapter/search