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This is one of the biggest concerns for many women when it comes to c-sections. A cesarean involves delivering your baby through two incisions, one in your abdomen and one in your uterus, so naturally you’ll need more time to heal than women who deliver vaginally.
Right after surgery, you'll go to a recovery room for about an hour, where your vital signs will be monitored and you'll receive pain medication. If your baby's healthy, he can stay with you during this time (it's a great opportunity to hold him and try to breastfeed if you haven't already).
The first day or so after your c-section, you may feel a little nauseated and weak. It may be uncomfortable to cough, sneeze, or even laugh. After a day or so, you'll be encouraged to get up and start moving around, which is important to prevent fluid from building up in your lungs, boost circulation, and help with digestion. It'll be hard at first, but the more you move, the better you'll feel.
After about three or four days, you'll probably be able to go home, after your doctor removes your stitches. You'll get a prescription for pain medication to help you through the next week (if you plan to nurse, make sure your doctor knows so he can prescribe medications that are safe). Once you're home, resist the temptation to busy yourself with stuff around the house -- just focus on resting, making sure not to lift anything heavier than your baby. Although many c-section mothers report feeling better rather quickly, it's still important to take it easy -- remember, you just had major surgery. You'll probably be back to your old self in about a month to six weeks.
The area around your incision will be tender for the first few weeks and you should watch it closely. If it becomes very red or inflamed, or if you start running a fever, call your doctor, since this could be a sign of infection. Most women notice that their actual scar is numb from the nerves being cut, but this numbness should go away over the next few months. Your scar will continue to get lighter and look better with time -- and eventually it'll fade to almost the color of your skin. C-section incisions are made very low these days, so they're easy to conceal -- even in bikinis and low-rise jeans.—Stacey Stapleton
The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.