Having a c-section can be a scary experience. After all, it is major surgery! The recovery will be slightly longer and drastically different than the recovery for a vaginal birth. Here is what you can expect after a c-section.
Once the epidural wears off, you can expect to slowly begin to feel the pain from the incision. It will not be a pleasant feeling at all. In fact, once the epidural wears off completely, it will hurt very badly. That is to be expected though. You should be able to ask your nurses for some pain medication as you need it, and that makes it feel much better.
You may get the “mommy shakes” after your c-section. Many women even get this after a vaginal delivery. If you get the “mommy shakes” your body will shake, almost like it is shivering, although you may not even be cold. It is very normal for that to happen, and the exact reason that it happens isn’t known. It could be a result of the trauma, hormones, nerves, or a side effect of the epidural. The shaking should go away within a few hours. It’s annoying, but it does not cause any harm.
You will feel very gassy afterwards. If it is too painful you should let your nurse or doctor know, but for the most part the gas is normal. Go ahead and let it out! It will make you feel much better. You may not be able to have a bowel movement for several days after your c-section, but let your nurses know if you feel that you need to go very badly but can’t. They will be able to help you out.
The area around the c-section incision will be slightly red and tender. Immediately after surgery, it should be covered with some gauze and tape, so you probably won’t even see it for a few days. It is not uncommon for the surrounding area to be numb. It may even stay numb for months. This is a weird sensation to get used to, but it is common.
The first time you take a shower after your c-section will probably be a wonderful yet slightly scary experience. It will feel glorious to get clean after your surgery, but at the same time your stomach might feel like it is about to fall open. Take it slowly. Don’t move too quickly, and ask for help if you think you need it.
Though no baby actually came out of the vagina, there will still be bleeding just as if you had had a vaginal delivery. The bleeding may be heavy sometimes, and since you will be laying down a lot, you may see some blood clots come out as well. Wear a heavy pad to soak up the blood. You will bleed for a few weeks. Even when you think you are done bleeding, do not stop wearing the pads! Your body will trick you and you may not bleed for days. Then suddenly you may feel a gush and your underwear will be soaked with blood. So continue to wear pads for at least a month.
Laying on your stomach is absolutely out of the question immediately after a c-section. So if you were looking forward to finally being able to lay on your tummy again after pregnancy, you will just have to wait a bit more. But at least during pregnancy you could lay on your side. After a c-section it will hurt for you to lay on your side, at least at first. Laying on your back will be the most comfortable position for at least a week.
After about a week, you should start to feel a whole lot better. After two weeks you should feel almost back to normal. But remember that while you might feel all better, your insides still have quite a bit of healing to do, so take everything slowly and listen to your doctors as far as the amount of lifting and exercise that you are allowed to do.