“One out of every three infants born in Massachusetts in 2006 was delivered by caesarean section, according to a state report released on February 13, 2008. This increase can be attributed to many factors, such as advanced maternal age, increases in obesity and diabetes, obstetrician’s fear of lawsuits, and parental desire to schedule the delivery to plan around older children. Whether you have a planned or unexpected C-section, here are some practical tips to aid your recovery post-surgery.
Organize. Organize your home in the week prior to your delivery date. Stock up on essentials that you will need for the first two weeks. Buy groceries and prepare a few meals ahead of time to put in your freezer. Create a space on the first floor where you will be spending most of your time, including a small table where you can keep a few books, telephone, water bottle, and a plate for snacks. Do not plan to walk up and down stairs for a while.
Breastfeeding. Call for assistance from either your nurse or a lactation consultant to help you breastfeed your baby comfortably. Most often the football hold position works best. If possible, take a class or read a book so you can become familiar with comfortable breastfeeding positions.
Bottle feeding. Plan to let dad, partner, a family member, or a nurse help with some of the feeds so you can get some much needed rest.
Nutrition. Avoid ice cold beverages, carbonated beverages, and heavy foods after the surgery. Drink plenty of water and hot teas and other natural fluids. Eat foods that are high in protein and fiber.
Clothing. Wear loose fitting clothing and larger underwear so the waistband does not press on the surgery scar.
Manage pain. After surgery it is very important to use the pain medication that is offered to you. Consult with your doctor if you are concerned about breastfeeding and pain medications; most pain medications offered in the hospitals are safe for breastfeeding moms. It will be much easier to feed the baby when you are a bit more comfortable.
Physical activity. Limit strenuous activity and support your abdomen when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or if you must use the stairs. Plan to get up and move around as soon as the nurse and doctor give you the green light. Movement helps alleviate some uncomfortable gas pain you may experience after the surgery. Even rocking in a chair will help your body eliminate some of the gas. Gradually increase your efforts and try to take regular walks. Abdominal exercises can begin around the sixth week postpartum, as can sexual activity.
Set limits and accept help. Many people will want to visit when your baby arrives, but limit visitors to short windows so you can sleep when the baby sleeps. Also, don't be afraid to accept or ask for help from a visiting friend or family member. Something as simple and easy as a friend or family member picking up orange juice for you on their way to visit can be an onerous task post-surgery with a newborn in tow.
Follow up. Schedule a follow up OB/GYN appointment for the six week mark from delivery.”
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