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9 tips for a speedy Caesarean birth recovery

Pregnancy By John Muturi

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  • A caesarean birth is no less an honourable or fulfilling way to produce a child than a normal delivery.
  • After all, it’s the quality of mothering which is the crucial factor in a child’s development, not the way it’s born. But there are certain aspects of Caesareans which can cause problems.

The following tips will help you deal with them.

1. If you’re going to have a Caesarean, it’s worth planning ahead. Perhaps the most important decision is which form of anaesthesia to use-a general anaesthetic which puts you completely to sleep during the delivery or an epidural which acts only on the lower half of your body and leaves your mind alert? There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. Ask your doctor which method is best for you.

2. The total unconsciousness a general anaesthetic brings can interfere with your natural maternal feelings. It can help to have the baby brought to you as soon as possible, even if she’s asleep. Don’t expect to be overwhelmed by motherly feelings. You’ll probably be confused from the anaesthetic and a bit shocked from the operation, especially if it was unplanned. Don’t worry-the loving feelings will eventually come.

3. One good way of forging the bond between you and your baby is by breastfeeding. If you can manage it, it will do wonders for your confidence as a mother, sometimes temporarily lost after a Caesarean. A Caesarean doesn’t affect your ability to breastfeed. The main problem will be to find a position which won’t put pressure on your scar. You could try laying the baby on a pillow placed on top of the table which goes over your bed. Or sit up in bed, with baby’s head on a pillow beside you, her legs tucked under your arm pointing towards the backrest.

4. You’ve just had an operation and an operation hurts! As the anaesthetic wears off, you’ll feel pain, especially in the first 48 hours. Even if you’re normally opposed to drugs, a few painkillers will certainly help to keep up morale and let you get on with caring for your baby.

5. Most hospitals aim to get you of bed within 24 hours after an epidural, or a little longer after a general anaesthetic. This might seem harsh, but it does help you get better more quickly. Moving around will stop your muscles from getting stiff, and will stimulate circulation, which in turn promote healing. Ask to have the bed lowered and take your time getting up. Resist the temptation to walk stooping over the incision. Breathe out gently and straighten up slowly. Being upright takes the pressure off the scar and lessens the pain.

6. The bowels go on strike for a while after an abdominal operation. A normal diet won’t be prescribed until the bowels signal their readiness to return to work-with a lot of wind! The first bowel movement-when you’re scared to put a strain on the scar-can be daunting. Plenty of fibre in your diet will ease the strain.

ALSO READ: Men have a critical role to play in breastfeeding during COVID-19 pandemic

7. A woman can be left with feelings of shock, disappointment and even inadequacy especially after an unexpected Caesarean. Talk about these feelings. It’s a vital part of the healing process. Start with the maternity staff who are often understanding. Continue the dialogue with your partner and sympathetic friends when you leave hospital.

8. At first your scar will look red an angry. But be assured it will eventually fade to near invisibility. Help things along in the early stages by scooping handfuls of salt into your bath. Don’t worry, it won’t sting. Alternatively, try a few drops of the healing essence of lavender oil in the water.

9. At first, gently moving around will suffice for exercise. But once the incision has healed and you feel stronger, it’s time to think about getting into shape again. What about some morale boosting tummy tighteners? Try pelvic circling-think of the belly dancing and rotate your hips first in one direction, then in the other. Go swimming.

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