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Bump & Beyond | C-Section Incision Care

  • Category: Women's Health
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  • Written By: Sarah Mallonee
Bump & Beyond | C-Section Incision Care

This blog was written by Sarah Mallonee, childbirth educator for Infirmary Health. Learn more about here by clicking here!

A Cesarean section, or c-section, is a surgical procedure that can be done to deliver a baby when a vaginal delivery is impossible or unsafe for the mom or baby. The incision from the procedure is either closed by sutures or surgical staples. Recovery from a cesarean section is similar to recovery from a vaginal delivery, but there are some extra things to keep in mind to take care of yourself when you get home.

The motto for incision care is “clean and dry.” Let’s start with clean.

  • SHOWERS: In the postpartum restrictions blog I talked about taking daily showers. That is still important for c-sections too! You want to cleanse the skin daily to prevent bacteria from building up and decrease your risk of infection. Avoid baths and soaking in tubs as this can cause infection.
  • SOAP: What kind of soap can you use? Good question! Plain bar soap is good to use. Avoiding soaps with harsh chemicals or dyes is best to prevent irritation. This is not the time for your Bath and Body Works cherry blossom shower gel. I recommend plain antibacterial Dove or Dial soap.
  • TIME: This is a big part of a healthy recovery, so ask your support system to help you make sure you have this time to yourself each day.

Now let’s talk about dry.

  • UNDERWEAR: Keeping moisture away from a healing incision is important to prevent infection. Wearing breathable underwear is key! Avoid nylon, spandex and thongs. Get some big, comfortable, cotton granny panties! Underwear with a larger gusset will also be helpful when facing any vaginal bleeding postpartum. C-section incisions are usually done along your bikini line, so be prepared with larger underwear without tight elastic so it will not rub against you incision.
  • SWEAT: Keeping your incision site as sweat free as possible can promote healing. It is very common to have loose skin or a curtain that hangs over your incision. To keep that area dry, you can use a menstrual pad and lay it over the incision to help absorb sweat. Make sure that you change the pad out often.

Another thing to consider about incision care is you should avoid putting stress on it. Your doctor will recommend eight hours of bed rest in the hospital after the procedure to prevent stressing the incision. When you go home, you will still need to take it easy and work your way back up to your daily activities. It’s best to avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby. Check with your physician before resuming heavier weights.

You do want to get up and move when you get home. Being too sedentary after any surgery can cause complications such as pneumonia or blood clots. Try to breathe deep and cough throughout the day. Getting out of bed and walking around the house will help prevent blood clots. But from my experience, your baby will likely keep you moving!

It is important to be mindful of certain activities. Limit trips up and down the stairs as much as possible as it can put strain on the incision. It can even be helpful to have diaper changing supplies accessible in other areas as you work to increase your daily activity. Avoid lifting up and reaching things up high, whether that’s a large vehicle or things high on shelves in the pantry. Ask for help!

If at any point you are worried about how your incision is healing, call your OBGYN.

Call your OBGYN immediately if your incision is:

  • Red
  • Swollen
  • A large bruise is forming around the incision
  • You are bleeding from the site
  • Has a funny smell
  • Warm to the touch
  • Oozing fluid (make sure to note the color and amount for the doctor)
  • Beginning to open up

Each recovery has its own difficulties. Use this advice and take good care of yourself. It is important to take good care of yourself after having a baby! You got this Momma.