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How Long Does it Take to Recover from a C-Section?

A C-section, also known as cesarean section, is a birth procedure used when complications are anticipated before or experienced during labor. Two different types of abdominal incisions are used in C-sections: the vertical incision (during emergency situations) and the bikini incision when the surgery is planned. Recovery from a C-Section incision usually takes about a month or so. It is important to understand that a c-section is considered major abdominal surgery. This means that there is added trauma to the normal birthing process. Although the pain will be much better after the first month, mothers should note that it is not surprising to feel occasional pains in the incision area for the first year after the surgery.

Initial Care

After the C-section, anticipate being monitored closely by your doctor or midwife for the first 24 hours. This will assure that problems are not developing. Pain medication will be given to you as needed as you are monitored closely for infection or other difficulties. You will be persuaded to walk short distances very soon after the surgery. Walking helps to relieve gas buildup in the abdomen and thus help to decrease the pain.

C-section mothers usually stay in the hospital 3 days after delivery. You will be able to take care of your baby when you feel capable. If you decide to breastfeed, you may experience some difficulty getting into the proper position. Before your hospital discharge, your doctor or midwife will give you post surgery instructions so that you care for the wound properly and are able to recognize any signs of complications.


During recovery, it is necessary to take the necessary safety measures to ensure your well being.

Rest as much as you can.
Concentrate on your health and that of your baby.
Wear comfortable clothing.
Avoid lifting anything that weighs more than your newborn.
Put off or limit your trips up and down the stairs.
Stop driving for two weeks or until your doctor says so.
Ask help from family and friends to assist you in your physical tasks.
If you have discovered any symptoms of depression, go and seek your doctor's advice. It is equally important to be treated early.

Get Your Home Ready

Create a space in your home where you can take care of your baby and access your immediate needs (e.g. toilet and sink)
Have a sturdy table nearby to hold the telephone with volume control, a few books, a glass of water and a small plate of snacks
Have a few pillows of different sizes and shapes.  These are very useful during breastfeeding; they will help to support the baby without putting pressure on the tummy
Consider employing a postpartum doula. Postpartum doulas are trained to offer families information and support while recovering from child birth. They can also help with light house work
Recovering from a C-section takes time. Help yourself to heal by taking it easy. Do not overburden yourself. It is important for the whole household to understand that you are not just working hard to be a great mom, but you are also healing from major surgery.

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