We Answer Your Most Important Questions About C-section Recovery
Whenever possible, our goal is to have a safe, vaginal delivery. However, there are times when the health of the mother and/or baby requires a C-section. Our decision to continue with this procedure is based upon deciding the best approach based on each individual situation.
Our obstetricians get a lot of questions in our office about C-sections and the recovery process, so we wanted to take time to address these concerns by exploring how long a C-section takes, how to sleep after a C-section, and when you can resume having sex. We’ll also supply some C-section recovery tips and include information you need about C-section recovery time.
How Long Does a C-section Take?
Every case is different, and that’s why it’s difficult to determine any set amount of time that a C-section would take. However, typically, a C-section takes around 45 minutes. If there is an emergency situation, a C-section may be completed in as little as 15 to 20 minutes.
After the baby is delivered, the obstetrician will stitch the uterus and close the abdominal incision.
Remember, that it is normal for the area around the incision to feel numb for weeks to months after their surgery. Nerves to the skin take a longer time to heal, so it is natural for the sensation around the incision to feel different.
How Long Do You Bleed After a C-section?
Bleeding after a C-section is a normal part of the postpartum process. After delivery, your vagina will expel lochia—a substance made of leftover blood, mucous and other tissues.
Lochia can last up to six weeks, although it will gradually diminish.
You can also have dark-red bleeding that will also diminish in a few days. Clotting is also normal during the first few days postpartum. Remember that your bleeding during C-section recovery time should get lighter. Lochia also changes in color, ranging from brown to light pink.
If you experience lochia that lasts for more than six weeks, we can evaluate this at your postpartum appointment.
How Long After a C-Section Can You Have Sex?
We suggest you wait six weeks before having sex. Why? Because your body needs time to heal, and we want to reduce your risk of having any post-delivery complications.
Remember: It’s not unusual for you to experience a low libido, or sexual desire, after delivery—regardless of whether you had a vaginal birth or a C-section. You may also be experiencing fatigue and vaginal dryness due to hormonal changes.
If sex is painful after abstaining for six weeks, please contact us. We understand that this is a very important time in the life of you and your partner. Intimacy is an important part of a healthy relationship, although the stress and fatigue of caring for a newborn can make it difficult to make time for sex. We’ve helped hundreds of women through the postpartum period, and we’re glad to answer any questions you may have about sex after a C-section.
How to Sleep After a C-section
This is one of our most popular C-section recovery tips.
If you’re used to sleeping on your belly, you’ll find that you may have to make some adjustments in order to be comfortable and get the rest that is so vital for your body’s recovery. However, it’s important that you sleep in a manner that doesn’t irritate or put pressure on your incision.
We have some tips about what might be the best positions for sleeping after a C-section.
- Sleeping on your back- Many women find that this position is comfortable because it puts no strain or pressure on the incision.
- Sleeping on your side – This is also a preferred position, and using pillows will help provide support to both your hips and abdomen.
- Sleeping while propping your body – Some women may use pillows to prop up their upper bodies. This also aids in better breathing.
- Sleeping upright – Granted, sleeping in a comfortable chair or recliner is not ideal, but for some women, it provides a good short-term solution.
After 2 weeks, it is fine to sleep in whatever position you find most comfortable.
However, if you’re being kept awake by consistent pain and medication is not helping, you should contact us for an appointment.
When Can I Take a Bath after a C-section?
Typically, you can take a bath three to four weeks after your surgery. In the meantime, you should also avoid hot tubs or swimming.
Showering is fine to resume the day after your surgery. We recommend avoiding directly washing or scrubbing the incision, but instead, we suggest letting the soapy water run over the incision. Gently dabbing the incision with a towel to keep it dry is also important. Some women find it helpful to place a sanitary pad over the incision for the first few days to weeks to help absorb sweat and keep the area dry. You do not need to apply any topical creams or antiseptics unless advised to by your physician.
Associates in Women’s Healthcare: Women Providing Care to Women
We understand that many women prefer to have a vaginal birth—and whenever possible, we honor that. However, if circumstances arise that a C-section is necessary, you can rest assured that you have a compassionate healthcare team of experienced experts ready to serve you.
Want to know more about our labor and delivery services? Perhaps you’re considering getting pregnant or you need to learn more about childbirth classes.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We would consider it a privilege to care for you.