I - Incision Care
Having a Cesarean is not easy and there is extra healing that comes along with having the surgery. Once in recovery, you’ll be asked to stand and walk a few hours after surgery to aid in healing faster. What many moms don’t expect is what it feels like and what to do with their incision.
First off, it may burn. I remember my first Cesarean, after the meds wore off, I stood up to go to the bathroom and called the nurse freaking out because it felt like everything was on fire. That’s your nerve endings at work and is completely normal - although painful.
Second, you don’t realize how bad sneezing, coughing, laughing will be until you do it. Anything that causes your abs to flex or stomach to tighten will not feel fun. Hold a pillow gently against the incision when you do one of those to relieve some pain.
So, what to do about the actual incision?
You will be closed up with stitches or staples. Both have different care. The stitches may dissolve on their own but the staples will need to be removed, probably about 7-10 days after surgery. Your doctor’s office will do this and it’s not as painful as it sounds. You don't actually feel it.
You will need to keep the site dry and let soap and water run over it to keep it clean. Do not scrub, especially at first. If tape is used, let that fall off on its own.
You can keep a pad over your incision in the first two weeks to keep it dry and clean.
Also, score a belly band from the hospital. Not only is this great for healing your body and minimizing diastasis recti, it also helps keep the pad in place over your incision site.
For muscle pain or swelling, you can take arnica or use arnica gel. Vitamin E and aloe vera gel also aid in scarring.
Once you’re all healed and resuming every day activity, ask your doctor about how to gently massage your scar to reduce scar tissue. This is especially helpful if you anticipate having more cesareans.
And please remember, if you feel hopeless or sad more than a few days, talk with someone. Postpartum mood disorders are real and getting help for your mental state will aid in healing your body faster as well.
Allesanda received her Bachelors in Behavioral Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in December 2013. She now lives in North Texas with her husband and children. As a doula and educator of infant sleep and eco-friendly living, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, holistic health, and parenting.