After the surgery is finished, you are taken to a recovery area, where you stay for a few hours, until the hospital staff can make sure that your condition is stable. Often, you can see and hold your baby during this time.
During the first day after a cesarean, you need to spend most of the time in bed. After that, you need to gradually increase your activity, so that you can build the strength you need to take care of yourself and the baby at home. The recovery time from a cesarean delivery is usually longer than from a vaginal delivery, because the procedure is a surgical one. Typically, you stay in the hospital for two to four days — sometimes longer, if complications arise.
After you have a cesarean, you may feel pain where the incisions were made through your skin and uterus. Ask your nurse for pain medication if you need it. Your doctor usually leaves orders for pain medications, but they aren't automatically given unless you ask for them. The anesthesia needed to perform a cesarean delivery also tends to slow the bowels and to cause some bloating and abdominal discomfort. Again, medications can help. Prune juice and other juices also can help.
After a cesarean, lochia (bleeding) may come from the vagina, just like in a vaginal delivery. This discharge gradually decreases and eventually disappears.
Excerpted from Pregnancy For Dummies™, published by John Wiley & Sons.
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