The reality is that many children with Cerebral Palsy are born via C-Section. Complications during a pregnancy can be one of many factors that requires a mother to forego a natural birth and instead deliver via C-Section. Whether a Cesarean was pre-planned or required due to circumstances during the pregnancy or in the delivery room, C-Section recovery can be a difficult process. We suggest the following for new moms looking to recover and move on after this difficult surgery.
C-Section Recovery Tips
While we would defer to any attending physician when it comes to what is best for you in your C-Section recovery, sometimes the moments after delivery can be hectic and this important discussion is missed. Below we have collected suggestions from a variety of sources, including leading health sites, to better help those mothers who are struggling with the planning, or after-effects, of a C-Section.
- First and foremost, try and rest as much as possible. Getting plenty of rest is a critical element of any surgery recovery but for mothers who have just had a C-Section, recovery can and must include taking things easy in the days and weeks after delivery.
- Be aware there is a timeline for recovery, no matter how fit or motivated you are. A C-Section not only involves incisions but also damage to muscles. No matter how motivated you are to be involved, the truth is that your surgery will undoubtedly restrict you. Understand there is a timeline for your C-Section recovery and do what you can to adhere to it.
- Understand your diet may need to change. Due to the incision and medications that can be involved in a C-Section, your restrictions can vary. However, be sure to go at your own comfort and pace. You may need to focus on liquids while limiting yourself to a light diet in the immediate hours and days after a C-Section, understand your recovery goes beyond activity and into the things you eat and drink as well!
- Treat your incision with care. Beyond supporting your abdomen and using pain relief as needed, you should be sure to check for signs of infection and more. C-Section recovery not only involves your own ability to move but also maintenance of the incision site in particular. Showering, in particular, can help in reducing infection.
- Build walking into your recovery plan. While it may seem impossible after the initial surgery, walking can prevent constipation, various infections, blood clots and more.
- Focus on you. Beyond the emotional recovery involved in dealing with an unexpected C-Section, there are also challenges some women face due to the great disruption in their life. Whether eating nutritious, getting rest or ensuring you ask for help, be sure you don’t push yourself too far while getting your body to where it needs to be.
- Be open to embarrassing realities. Just one of the items that may be a little awkward to discuss is the medical impact on your body a C-Section can have. Among other things, you may require a stool softener after delivery in order to help yourself. On this front, you may also want to consider probiotics to help with digestion and your stomach’s health.
- Communicate. As noted above, there are real emotional challenges associated with C-Section recovery. Be sure you do not bottle up these emotions and speak with loved ones about where you are. Beyond the risk of postpartum depression, there can be isolation embedded in this process. Set a precedent for yourself by trying to open up and speak with those who care about you to make sure you do not bottle up the process internally.
- Understand recovery is not a sprint but more like a marathon. Recovery can take anywhere from 3-4 weeks all the way up to 3 months before you feel 100%. Take your time, get help where you can get it and focus on getting healthy the right way and not the fastest way.
- Ask for help. Be open to the different forms of help available, even if its resources or programs that help families of children with special needs. Beyond the immediate help of friends and family, we can also connect you with information, including contact options, to ensure your questions are answered and get you set up with free resources. Contact us at your convenience to find out how we can help!
A condition like Cerebral Palsy is for a lifetime, meaning there will be plenty of time in which you are expected to be a superhero while helping your child. C-Section recovery requires the mother to take into account her own wellness to avoid problems now and for years to come. Take the time, however much you can, to focus on your own wellness so that, when the time comes, you’re able to be your child’s primary caregiver, and at your best.
Have tips for C-Section recovery that worked well for you? Perhaps a specific exercise that didn’t push you to the limits or helped you deal with the variety of emotions related to the experience? Parents of children with special needs, including Cerebral Palsy, often learn on the go, but that does not mean we can’t amass a variety of helpful information to help other parents going through this process. We hope you will let us know at our Forum what worked for you so that, hopefully, you are able to help another parent going through what you’ve experienced!