If you're preparing for birth or have just given birth, you will have lots of questions. And if you've given birth via Caesarian section (C-section), you'll want to learn the recovery timeline for a C-section as well as answers to many other questions.
We’ve done the legwork for you and come up with answers to some of the most common C- section recovery questions.
1. What are my chances of having an emergency C-section?
Even if you want to have a vaginal birth, sometimes, giving birth by C-section is needed to ensure both mummy’s and baby’s good health. This is because a doctor can deliver a baby very quickly – in just a few minutes – through a C-section as opposed to a vaginal birth where there is no control over delivery time. If this happens, it’s known as an emergency C-section.
There are a few possible reasons for an emergency C-section:1
- Maternal hemorrhage or bleeding
- A prolapsed umbilical cord, where the cord drops into your vagina before your baby does
- Fetal and/or maternal distress
- The placenta detaches from the walls of your womb (placenta abruption)
- The uterus tears along a previous C-section scar (uterine rupture)
2. How long does a C-section take?
It will depend on the situation. In the case of an emergency C-section, where the mother or the baby's health might be at risk, it takes only a few minutes to go from incision to delivery. A planned C-section birth usually takes between 10-15 minutes. Both types of C-sections will include about 45 minutes of delivering the placenta and suturing of the incisions after the baby is taken out.2
3. What is a gentle C-section?
Gentle C-sections have been growing in popularity due to their family-centered approach. Also called “natural Caesarian” or “family-centered birth”, gentle C-sections intend to make the procedure less sterile and clinical, and more friendly to the mum, dad and baby. It incorporates skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding just after delivery, delayed cord clamping if requested, and more bonding in general that might be expected with a regular C-section.3
4. When can I drive after a C-section?
Are you getting restless and online shopping isn't quite cutting it anymore? After having seven layers of tissue cut open, including your abs, you may want to heed the common medical advice to avoid driving for at least five to six weeks after a C-section. This is for your sake while your muscles heal, but also for the safety of other drivers. If you are still unstable in your core, you can risk losing control. To support your core and belly muscles during this six week period of recovery, try UpSpring’s C-Panty C-section Recovery Underwear.
5. How do I best take care of my incision after a C-section?
You've just had major surgery and your incision is probably going to be sore for a while. While you’re still at the hospital, you will be prescribed pain medication, which will help bring relief to immediate discomfort. Along with the pain relief, you'll want to keep the incision site clean and dry.
As your cut heals, you'll benefit from using UpSpring’s C-Panty C-section Recovery Underwear. Designed especially for C-section recovery, the C-Panty C-section underwear is a patented postpartum underwear. It’s created especially for C-section mums to provide incision care and postpartum slimming.
The C-Panty provides clinically determined, targeted and safe levels of compression directly over the incision area for new mums after a C-section. It helps protect the cut and keeps you more comfortable during your C-section recovery. The C-Panty also features a sewn-in medical-grade silicone panel that helps reduce itchiness and scarring. Medical grade silicone is non-toxic and does not irritate the skin or react to body fluids or other tissue. In fact, it has been shown to be therapeutic for scar treatment, and might help reduce the chances of infection around the cut, too.
Pain and soreness are to be expected after a major surgery like a C-section. But you should call your doctor without delay if you notice the following symptoms, which could indicate that you have an infection or other complications:
- Swelling, redness or oozing at the incision site
- Fever higher than 38°C
- Odorous discharge
- Pain at the incision
- Redness or puffy legs
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Trouble breathing or chest/breast pains
6. When can I have sex after a C-section?
Even though your baby did not enter the world via the birth canal, the key here is giving your cervix enough time to close. This typically takes six weeks, but some women feel confident sooner. If you experience burning or other pain, please consult your doctor as it may indicate you're not healing as you should. Regardless, speak to your doctor also about when it’s safe for you to have sex again.
After giving birth, your body will need a lot of time to heal. Please remember that it took you nine months to grow this little miracle. Give yourself just as much, if not more time to "bounce back" after a C-section. Expect that you'll have good and bad days (sometimes within the same day), especially in those first few weeks after delivery as your hormones fluctuate and your newborn is adjusting to life on the outside.
Be sure to surround yourself with supportive people like your partner, friends, and family. If you really want to speed up recovery after birth, be patient with your body but vigilant about using proper compression garments to reduce swelling and improve healing.
- Why Would I Need to Have an Emergency C-Section? WebMD. Reviewed on 14 October, 2020. Retrieved on 15 July, 2021 from https://www.webmd.com/baby/emergency-c-section#1.
- Cesarean Birth (C-Section). Cleveland Clinic. Reviewed on 22 June, 2018. Retrieved on 15 July, 2021 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/7246-cesarean-birth-c-section.
- Planning for a Gentle Cesarean Birth. Healthline Parenthood. Published on 26 November, 2020. Retrieved on 15 July, 2021 from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/gentle-c-section.