C-section recovery timeline for mums

While every woman's c-section recovery timeline is different and our bodies heal at different rates, there are some definite phases to what happens to your body during each phase.

Unlike other surgeries where we put ice on the wound, elevate, rest and let the patient be the focus, with a c-section not only did you have surgery, but you also now have a fragile life to care for as well. Your baby becomes the focus and your recovery fades to the back. Let’s look at the timeline for caesarean recovery and allow ourselves a little of that same attention and patience to recover. The C-section recovery timeline basically includes three phases of wound healing.


C-section recovery versus knee surgery recovery 

Can you imagine your spouse having knee surgery and getting up in the middle of the night or the next week to do anything? Can you imagine him being sent home from the hospital only with a floppy, mesh sock around his knee? If your mother or child had abdominal surgery, would you be surprised that they were still sore at the end of the day eight weeks after surgery? Or how about dad walking around Disney for months after that knee surgery? Think that would be easy? Of course not, because in those surgeries, the focus isn’t on a new baby, it’s on the patient.


We have encountered many mums who have delivered by caesarean that start with “I recovered great…but boy does my underwear hurt at the end of the day” or “I still feel puffy and sore around my incision after walking around and spending a lot of time on my feet”. Many mums are so grateful for a healthy baby they are hesitant to admit to any symptoms post c-section. Mums get back to life pretty fast after a c-section and are doing things like working, walking through the grocery store aisles, and putting strollers in cars before the new baby is a few months old.


The three phases of c-section recovery timeline

C-section recovery: Week 1

The first phase, inflammation, is about a week long. This is where fluids are rushing into the area, and the system’s emergency response team is taking out dead cells and bringing in the recovery team.


C-section recovery: Week 2-6

The second phase, proliferation, is where the rebuilding starts. Cells that rebuild tissue begin to resynthesise tissue. Swelling is still pretty common here. Symptoms include itching and “shooting pains” from nerve regeneration. Tenderness will continue. The pain should be decreasing in intensity during this phase, so see your MD if it doesn’t.


C-section recovery: Week 6 - 6 months/1 year

The last phase is remodelling. This is where tissues are continuing to mature. Collagen, vascular changes, and scarring continue for up to a year. Tension, itching, and soreness after long busy days can continue but should gradually improve.


What can you do during c-section recovery to maximise healing?

The basics of hydration and good nutrition are great for recovery. It’s common to also read about resting and elevation on medical sites. Rest is tough for busy new mums, and elevating the pelvis is all but impossible! This is why mums experience that puffiness and waist band pressure even 6 weeks post-surgery or still feel sore sometimes after marathon days even months later. Not enough rest combined with continued low-grade inflammation pools in the pelvis.


C-Panty provides a low-grade compression force to minimise fluid collection while still being comfortable enough to wear all day. You may have used a binder early on, but for the longer recovery period they aren’t very practical. They tend to focus on the belly and ride above the incision area. Using a binder in conjunction with C-Panty early on and then transitioning to C-Panty alone after for that long maturation phase gives the support needed.


Scarring matures up to a year. C-Panty is the only product that combines the support and compression recommended by physicians with medical grade silicone to address all phases of wound healing.


So, if you have had a baby by caesarean or c-section, we know you are happy to have the baby be the priority. Now that you know the timeline is extended and that controlling swelling through rest and compression can help, do it! Take the time to be the patient. You deserve it, mum!

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