You probably know all the care you and your baby need for a healthy delivery. But what about the care you both need the days after? The postpartum period or the days following the delivery of your baby can be very challenging, especially after a caesarean delivery. So to help you get back on your feet and take care of the baby, first, baby yourself with these post-C section care tips.
Withing the first 24 hours after surgery, try to get your blood circulation going: wiggle your toes, rotate your ankles, and stretch your legs. You may be encouraged to get out of bed but do not attempt to do this by yourself. Do breathing exercises to expand your lungs and clear them of accumulated fluid. This is particularly important if you had general anesthesia. This will reduce the risk of pneumonia. On the second day, avoid gas pain, bloating and blood clots by moving around like walking to the bathroom with the help of a nurse. On the third or fourth day, your doctor will probably remove your sutures or staples. This takes only a few minutes. You may feel a small pinch but no pain. For the first three to four days, expect vaginal discharge called lochia. Like any woman who had just delivered a bay, this happens as the uterus shrinks back to its pre-pregnancy size and sheds off tissue. You will need to have extra absorbent menstrual pads. Do not use tampons during this time.
Keep your activity level low. Avoid doing housework and avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby. Make sure changing stations and feeding supplies are near you to save you from getting up too often. Get plenty of fluids to kep you hydrated and eat healthy meals to restore energy and prevent constipation. Watch for fever or pain, which can be a sign of infection. Your lochia bleeding will change over time and can increase with activity and position changes. Use this as a gauge to make sure you are not doing too much. Lochia will change over time to pale pink or a dark red color, and then eventually to a yellowish or light color. Do not hesitate to call your doctor should you experience anything unusual.
If C-section moms need special care, the same is true with their babies. Results of a study done in Finland showed that compared to normally-born babies, immune systems of C-section babies do not responds as quickly or as effectively compared to those of normally-born babies. C-section babies become more prone to infections and allergies. This is becuase they bypass the birthing process which promotes early awakening of their immune systems by exposure to bacteria. During the birthing process, the baby comes into contact with the mom’s own bacteria. This triggers the spread of good bacteria in the infant’s intestines where 80% of the immune system is located. the more good bacteria an infant has, the earlier his immune system can be stimulated and trained to be strong. Compared to babies born via normal delivery, C-section babies experience a delay of up to six months in acquiring good bacteria because they miss out on this process. But not to worry, nature always finds a way: breastmilk. Colustrum, the first secretion from a mom’s breast is rich with antibodies. Breastmilk is also rich in good bacteria or probiotics. By breastfeeding, you can give your baby the best protection in order to boost his resistance against infections. When you know how to take care of yourself and your baby, you can look forward to the joys of being a mother.