1. Being a mom
  2. Recovering from birth
  3. Postpartum problems

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Post C-Section Swelling, Bleeding, and Discharge: What to Expect After the Operation

Cesarean section is one of the ways for babies to be born. Also, C-section is a major surgery and may result in bleeding and swelling. The woman needs to take good care of her body to make speed up recovery. What are the things that you should expect during your recovery after C-section?

The cesarean section can put a new mother under stress and prevent her from taking good care of herself and her baby. To beat the symptoms and take timely measures, it's important to identify them and know which of them can pose threat. 

Bleeding is likely to take place for about six weeks after the delivery. This bleeding is a type of vaginal discharge known as lochia. This discharge is usually thicker and heavier than blood from menstrual cramps.

During the first six weeks, there may be some clotting in the blood and this is very normal. Hemorrhage after cesarean delivery can be caused by placenta accreta, surgical blood loss, uterine atony, uterine rupture.

This is a common postnatal characteristic of mother who just delivered either through the vaginal or by surgery. The increase in the size of the breast is usually due to the presence of colostrum – the first form of milk produced by the mammary glands of a new mom after delivery of the newborn. Milk is an essential and important feed required for proper development of the baby immune system. 

After delivery, the breast gets filled up with milk and this can cause a sort of discomfort to the mother. This discomfort can last for about 4 days after delivery. You can help ease yourself of the pain during milk accumulation with the use of breast pump or encouraging breastfeeding to your baby. If you do not breastfeed, the best way to ease the pain is by wearing a tight brassiere.

The blood released or discharged out of the vagina is a not a problem, it is normal for every woman after delivery. It is a way through which your body dispose of tissues and blood in the uterus that kept your baby safe during pregnancy. The blood will gradually change its color from red to pink, then it turns brown, yellow and then it stops.

While the discharge of blood from the vagina is not a problem, if you observe too much of it, don’t wait till your first postpartum checkup and visit your doctor. 

Giving birth can set in a series of emotional imbalance in the body of a woman. After bringing home your baby, you may begin to feel dizzy, tired or anxious, etc. Taken together these symptoms are called the "baby blues" and should be taken care of not to grow into postpartum depression.

Baby blues are the result of hormonal changes in your body system. Your body tries to adapt to this change. If the symptoms get worse and mood fluctuations start affecting your ability to care for the baby, don’t hesitate to consult your healthcare provider. 

This is also a result of hormonal changes. The development of stretch marks on the breast of women and around the abdomen can be a result of hormonal changes.

You may also experience increase in hair loss or hair growth.

Swollen feet after C-section is also known as edema and is caused by the excess of blood in tissues. There may be series of swelling on the face, ankle, hand and feet. After the C-section, many women will experience swelling around the incision area or at the perineum. Swelling after C-section is usually caused by excessive fluid and blood in the body. Also, intravenous (IV) fluid can cause swelling after the cesarean delivery. Swollen feet after C-section can be minimized through proper c-section home care. 

Try the following to avoid postpartum swellings:

The pains after the C-section will remind you of the menstrual cramps. These pains are normal and will help you bloody vessels to narrow to keep you from bleeding too much in the postpartum period.

There are two major causes of pain after the C-section are nerve damages and muscle pains. 

The muscle pain is also known as myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) that affects the wall of the stomach and the pelvic floor. This pain sensation can become very severe in the body and this is attributed to a sharp pain around the belly. The syndrome when it affects the pelvic wall requires a pelvic treatment to overcome such pain.

Whenever you feel any sort of abnormal pain around your uterus or abdomen, you should visit your doctor. Your doctor will help to determine if you should take any kind of pain reliever or not. 

Recovering fully from C-section surgery or discomfort may take some time. In average, you’ll have to stay in hospital for 3-4 days, unless any complications occur. Full recovery may take for approximately 6-8 weeks.

Though it might be very painful, it is more encouraging to involve in day to day activities and exercise to speed up the healing. If you have undergone C-section delivery, follow your doctor’s instructions to speed up the recovery and avoid postpartum complications.

Week 1

During the first week of the recovery, the healing process is characterized by inflammation. Fluids flow into the area of incision and the body tries to take out the dead cells. This helps to bring in the cells and tissues responsible for recovery of the abdominal or uterus incision.

Weeks 2 – 6

This period is known as a proliferative phase. At this point the cells within the area begin to form tissues around the opened-up area. You may start developing the series of symptoms such as shooting pain from the nerve regeneration and continuous itching around the wound. Week by week the pain should relieve and you can have your first sexual intercourse after delivery.

Week 6 – half a year

This is the phase in which the tissues of the body begin to mature and return back to its original shape. This phase is referred to as remodelling. There is a series of development in collagen and vascular tissues over the time. During this time, there may be mild itching and sore after a long day of work or undergoing stress. 

After getting home, women want to get well soon. Here are a few cesarean recovery tips to try.

C-section is a severe surgery and, of course, your body needs time to heal. Don’t hesitate to ask your friends and relatives for help (change diapers, go for a walk with the baby) if you need stay in bed.

Remember that if you’re breastfeeding your milk is still the first nutrition for your baby. Eat vegetables and drink plenty of fluids to boost your breast milk supply.

Avoid going up and down the stairs, don’t lift anything heavy. If you have to sneeze or to cough, hold your abdomen to protect the incision site.

Your emotions are as important as your physical condition. If you feel anxious, depressed, develop constant mood fluctuations, talk to your partner, close friend or relative. If the situation gets worse, schedule a visit to a specialist who will diagnose you and make some specific recommendations.

It’s very likely that you have a female friend who has also undergone C-section. Try not to compare your own experience with hers. Focus on your own symptoms and recovery process and soon you’ll get back to normal. 

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