By Effie Koustas, MPT
Most pregnant woman prefer a natural delivery, maybe with the use of an epidural for pain relief. However, Caesarean sections (C-sections) are very common in the United States, occurring in 1 in 3 pregnancies! Although most would prefer not to go that route, sometimes it isn’t a choice if mom or baby are in distress.
Doctors now have continuous fetal monitoring during labor, which can be a good thing. Although you may have a birth plan, you must always be prepared for it to change for the well-being of both you and baby. If the baby’s heart rate elevates suddenly, the doctor may suggest a C-section to get the baby out of distress. This is a standard procedure. However, a planned C-section is also recommended if there are medical/pregnancy complications and/or you have had a prior C-section. The latter also gives women control over delivery time vs. playing the waiting game. They can pick the day and time of delivery and which obstetrician they want.
Although C-sections are common, they are still a surgical procedure and not entirely simple so recovery presents unique challenges versus a natural birth. You must be patient as your body heals, and there are ways to help the healing process. Knowing what to do and what not to do can make a big difference in recovery. There are ways to make yourself more comfortable immediately after as well as how to help your scar heal effectively.
Some tips to keep in mind following a C-Section:
- Give yourself a break, you just had major surgery!
- Get/ask for help with strenuous household chores.
- Walking is recommended, starting with 10-minute walks daily. (*Assuming you have been cleared by your obstetrician)
If you are having, or had, a C-section, you will benefit from a consult with a PT specializing in pre- and postnatal issues to learn proper body mechanics, safe exercises and learn scar tissue mobilization techniques to help you on your road to recovery.
Photo courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons