C-section bounceback tips let families focus on tiny bundles

new baby with mother after C-sectionWhether a Cesarean-section delivery is planned or not, recovery takes time … and some helpful advice from the experts.

Pam Unger, MSN, MSHA, RNC-OB, Carle’s director of Women & Children’s Services, teamed up with Lisa Siegwald, RN, inpatient manager, to give moms—and those who love and care for them—the help they need.

“We want new moms to focus on caring for themselves and their new baby, so understanding the best ways to recover from a C-section is key,” Siegwald said.

“So is taking it easy and asking those around you for help when you need it.”

One of the most important things to remember is that a C-section is surgery. It takes time to recover, with three or four days in the hospital and another six weeks or so for a typical C-section.

Rest is good, but it’s not the only thing.

“We usually get new moms out of bed within 12 hours of C-section delivery,” Unger said. “The sooner you get up and move around, the faster you will heal and the better you will feel. Our nurses will show you the best way to move from the bed and, with a little help, you will be walking in your room and hallways before you know it.

“Remember, walking tall and straight is important when you begin to move around.”

In the first few hours, fluids are important, too. Initially, ice chips can help ensure nausea is limited. 

“If nausea persists, talk with your nurse and others taking care of you,” Siegwald said. “We can help with medication, suggestions for how to sit or lay to ease those feelings, and practical advice from people who’ve been there.”

Cold beverages, however, do not top the suggestion list. And for a potentially surprising reason.

Getting back to (ahem!) regular bowel movements is a goal after any surgery.

“Cold beverages just don’t help with the body’s digestion process, so we suggest water, tea or some Sprite at room temperature,” Unger said, adding some pain relievers cause constipation, compounding the situation. 

Fluids also will be important if you’re going to breastfeed.

Pain relief is a priority. Nurses work diligently with their patients to make sure pain is as well-controlled as possible.

More advice helpful? Brace yourself. Pillows, too, are a necessity. Most women keep a pillow nearby so they can hold it to their belly when they cough or move, helping bandages and stitches stay in place.

Pay close attention to the incision area when holding and feeding the baby, too, Siegwald said. Again, your favorite pillow can be your best support here.

Your nurses, lactation consultants and others can help position new babies for the most comfortable and successful breastfeeding possible.

For more information, please check out this helpful information and speak with your healthcare provider.