C-section Recovery

Updated on May 29, 2008
N.O. asks from Rowlett, TX
44 answers

Hi Moms,

Is it really easier the second time around having a c-section? I had my first c-section in 2005 and will be having another this April. I'm terrified because the recovery from my first was horrible!!
It took me about 3-4 days before I could even get up and walk and 2 weeks before I was able to really carefully move around again.

However, I've heard from a few people that the second time around was easier and I'd really like to hear some others experiences whether it was easier or if recovery was about the same for you second time around.
I guess I'm just really hoping to have a fast recovery so I can get right back to my older kids that I know are really going to be needing me since I won't have much help at all.
Thanks to all for any helpful advice!

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So What Happened?

Thank you ALL so much! I am so releived and thankful at the same time to read all of the posotive responses! It makes me feel so much less stressed about having another c-section.
Thank you all again!

***NEW Update*** All of the Moms who said the second C is easier were RIGHT!
I delivered my healthy happy 8 lb 15 oz baby boy via C on April 1st and recovery was wonderful this time around. I was so happy about my decision and everything went very smoothly.
Thanks again to all for your advice.

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J.C.

answers from Dallas on

I have had 3 c-sections and each one got easier. I think that when you know what to expect, it makes the recovery quicker. I had no problems keeping up with my older kids. When I had my second C, I had a 2 year old and help for only the 1st week. When I had my 3rd C, my other kids were 10, 8, 6, and 4. My newborn was in the NICU for 4 weeks and between my husband's job (self-employed and the busiest season of the year), the older kids and my preemie, I never missed a beat. It seemed like my body just knew what to do and I kept going.

Good luck and congratulations.

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K.M.

answers from Dallas on

I have had 3 c-sections and with every one it got easier. I thought I was going to die after my first, and like you it took me 3 to 4 days before I could start to walk and about 3 weeks before I was able to bend! My last c-section which was in November 2006 was a breeze. The VERY next day I was up walking with no problems and once I got home I was a little sore but after a week at the most I was back to normal. So no worries it gets a lot easier!

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A.D.

answers from Dallas on

Natalie,

I also had two c-sections three years apart, and by far the second one was much easier. I had my daughter at 7am and was up out of bed in the afternoon. I even went home a day earlier. The pain wasn't so bad and I think my recovery time was less than 10 days. I think the second time around you heal faster b/c you don't have a choice, you have other kids that need you as well.

Don't sweat it! Good luck!

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S.S.

answers from Wichita Falls on

I recovered fast from the first one - walking after 12 hours, discharged after 36. The second one, I had the baby at 2 on Thursday - was discharged at lunch on Friday.

I know that a lot of it has to do with how well your surgeon cuts and repacks you - the kinder they are, and the better 'placed' everything is, the less sore and less adjusting for your body to do... I figured that out based on the fact that here in town, there are a few doctors that every one of their c-sections take a significantly longer amount of time to recover and there's a couple whose patients are almost universally on their own 4 days later.

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C.C.

answers from Dallas on

Well, accordining to my sister-in-law, the second time was worse! She had an emergency C-Section the first time and didn't think it was that bad. She opted for a C-Section the second time, but then said the pain and recovery was much worse than the first time.

Is there any chance you can opt for a VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section)? I've had 3 children -- the first was vaginal, the second C-Section, and the third was VBAC. I had the experience of both types of birth so with my third, I was very adamant with my doctor that unless it posed a health risk to the baby, I was going to try a vaginal delivery.

If C-section is your only option, then I agree with Rhonda's response about getting up and moving as soon as possible. My nurses were very pleased that I refused to sit in bed and was walking around, or sitting in chairs. I did the same thing at home. By the second week, I was at home by myself with a newborn and 4 1/2 year old, and after three weeks I went on a pre-school class trip. By that time I was feeling pretty good! And I definitely credit it to not letting the pain/discomfort beat me.

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T.W.

answers from Dallas on

I think it is easier I had my son C-section and he is now 14 then my daughter and she is 8 and just had my 3rd one in Nov and had another little girl I feel it was easy I knew everything that was going to happen. I am still numb in areas as of now even I guess being cut three times in the same spot. My Dr said it was normal but that was at my last visit 5 weeks after having her but I was up walking that night after mine and kept on going so I feel even with my age I got really lucky I am 35 and I recovered very fast I feel. I bet it is better this time around. Good luck It will be better I bet.

T.

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W.D.

answers from Dallas on

It was a lot harder on me the second time around but I also had a 2 year old to take care of. Hopefully, this time around my VBAC will go well.

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C.K.

answers from Dallas on

My second c-section was a breeze compared to the first. Hope everything goes well for you. God bless!

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

I, too, had a HORRIBLE recovery with my first c-section. It was an emergency c-section after several hours of induced labor and 3 epidural sticks. I couldn't stand up straight for weeks. So, when I got pregnant 11 years later, I had the choice of a VBAC or a planned c-section. After taking all the risks, timing (my son was delivered on 12/28/06), and recovery time into consideration, I decided to have a planned c-section, but was TERRIFIED about the recovery. However, after the second c-section, I was walking around normally within a day and was only on pain medication at home for a couple of days. It was like night and day from the first! I am so glad that we chose to do the c-section the second time (and of course the first time, too, as that probably saved my daughter's life!). Hopefully this helps ease some of your worries. Congratulations!!!

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M.H.

answers from Dallas on

I have had three c-sections and the first was the hardest by far. I think after you have been cut once a lot of the nerves die so there is not that much pain when they cut you in the same place.

My only advice is to get up and walk as soon as possible...like the same day of surgery. It will help in your recovery.

Enjoy your new addition...they are such a blessing!

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L.D.

answers from Dallas on

The second time around it was a breeze! My oldest was 2 yrs. 9 mo. and I did have my mother help. I was able to hold my thirty pound boy without any trouble. The first time I was moving slowly as well. This time I was ready to go in about a week. It is so much easier, in my experience and I was 43 the second time. Relax and enjoy your babies.

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R.S.

answers from Dallas on

I had 2 c-sections & a prior cyst removal surgery all through the same scar. That was good news only 1 scar. My 2nd & 3rd recovery time was much better because of 1 thing. Get up out of bed immediately & start to move around! As hard & painful as this is it cut down my recovery time so much quicker. I was able to get up & do things as soon as I was home from the hospital. I did listen to the Dr. & take it slow but after 1 week I was barely sore and feeling almost normal. Good luck & congrats.

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J.B.

answers from Dallas on

I had two c-sections and the recovery time was about the same. I think knowing that it's going to take a little while made it easier for me the second time. Wish I could say it would be quicker for you.

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M.J.

answers from Dallas on

N.,

I had 2 c-sections (the last one was just 8 weeks ago). Yes, the second one does seem better. Maybe b/c one knows what to expect. My advice is to stay the entire stay that your insurance allows in the hospital. Most hospitals have rooming in, but send the baby to the nursery at least once in a 24 hour period and SLEEP. The nurse can look after the baby until feeding time. See if mom, mom-in-law or a good friend can help you at home for a couple of weeks. Also, to prepare by cooking and freezing casserole type dinners before hand.

Best of luck....think positive thoughts!!!

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D.N.

answers from Dallas on

It was noticeably easier. My OB cut open the old scar so I think the pain and recovery is not as bad because the nerves are already dead and you have old scar tissue in that area. I was off morphine and walking and taking a shower the very next day. I also think that you recover faster "mentally" because you are worried about what's going on at home!

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B.L.

answers from Dallas on

Hey,
I have had 3 c-sections, my first horrible as well (10 yrs before my 2nd). The second, I think it did take me about 2-4 days to finally get up and start moving. The third was much better. I don't think the pain was less, but because I knew what to expect. My tolerance level increased with each c-section. It's OK to take the 2-4 days, just listen to your body, do a little at a time. GOOD LUCK and CONGRATS!

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M.M.

answers from Dallas on

You have a great deal of responses so I wont write a novel but I too had a difficult time with my first son. Two days of being induced because of toxemia and still had to have a c-section. It was a long road to recovery. But with my second son the c-section was planned. I went to the hospital and had my epidural within 2 hours and all was fine after that. I was able to take a shower the day after and even went home a day earlier than most. I was up and going well after a couple of days of resting as much as possible at home. Best wishes to you. It will all be ok in the end.

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M.L.

answers from Dallas on

yes, ma'am...the people who have said the second time around is easier are right. i had one in december of 04 and another one in october of last year, and it was SO MUCH easier to recover from. it still hurt, don't get me wrong, but it was much easier and faster recovery than the first one. thanks!

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H.D.

answers from Dallas on

N.,

I've had two c-sections and had a fairly easy post-partum period except for major swelling in my legs the first go round. Having a planned c-section was so much easier.(not so much pain wise, but in regards to swelling in my legs)..only had the IV and catheter for 24 hrs (unlike the first time when I labored...I had an IV pumping me full of fluid for 3 days!!) The only advice I can give you is to make sure you stay ahead of the pain and take your pain meds as prescribed. Don't try to be "brave" and stop the meds too early...that's when you become unable to move and function as you need to. I hope this helps. Best of luck.

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M.G.

answers from Dallas on

Did you labor at all before your first c-section. For some reason this does make a difference. If you did that could be why your recovery was harder. And walking around as soon as possible and often really helps. My friend and I both had c/s she labored for a long time and then had to have hers,then didn't really walk around at all. I went in for induction but never actually started labor after 24 hours and had a c/s. My friend had a hard time getting back to normal. I started walking about 12 hours after my c/s and I felt great with no problems, I did have to get up a little slowly and things but I didn't hurt too much nad felt I recovered quick.

I just had my second this past June and the recovery was just as quick as with my first.

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E.R.

answers from Dallas on

Hey N.! I have had 2 c-sections, and I can definitely say that the 2nd was easier. The first, I had been in labor for a while and wasn't progressing, so I had to have one. That recovery was awful because I was so tired from being in labor and I had no idea what was going on. With the 2nd, I was really really nervous because I remembered my 1st one, and how rough it was. But the 2nd one was way better. I knew what to expect, and my recovery was really quick. After only like 2 days in the hospital, I was sooo bored and ready to go home. I lost that bent over shuffle walk that you have right after your surgery before I even got home, and I was doing really well. I kept on forgetting to ask for pain pills from the nurses--they reminded me. So I am sure you will do great! Good luck!

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C.O.

answers from Dallas on

I've had two c-sections, what I learned from an awesome nurse the first time around and knew to do the second was the best benefit......start moving IMMEDIATELY. Especially while you still have the drugs in your system. The quicker you start making yourself move - even though it hurts - the faster the pain will subside. Both times I had my catheter out before the first 24 hours was even over and I was out of the hospital within 48 hrs of having the babies. Nurses did think that part was a little weird - but I was ready to be home. So work on moving while you are in the hospital and it will make recovery easier. Good luck and Congratulations!

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

I had three C-sections and I think you learn from each one and that is what makes it easier for you know what to do with gas pain, etc. Also, depends on the surgeons ability. Take it easy though for you don't want adhesions cause you did too much to soon. A.

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J.T.

answers from Dallas on

my best friend had her second c-section on feb 5th and she has recovered MUCH more quickly this time, so hope that gives you some encouragement. good luck!

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J.J.

answers from Dallas on

N. - I am at exactly one week after my second c-section. YES, it is easier this time. Was your first an emergency? I am convinced that my first recovery was so hard because I also had 15 hours of unsuccessful labor to recover from on top of the c-section. This time we went in with the surgery planned, which really helped. Honestly, I am still hurting quite a bit. There is one area that really hurts, but in general it is much better. I don't know what I would do if my parents weren't here to take care of my two year old though. There is NO WAY I could handle him by myself, so be sure you have help for at least a week, more likely two weeks! I am ok with just taking care of myself and the little one right now. Good luck, and don't worry. Just follow the doctors and nurses advice on starting to walk as soon as possible in the hospital. That will help with the secondary issues such as gas and constipation that complicate recovery.

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F.F.

answers from Dallas on

N.,

I myself have had two C-sections. The first recovery was extremely hard b/c the doctor on call decided to staple me. My dr was very upset about this method. So for my second delivery while I was on the table, I asked my ob/gyn to not staple me. She obliged and decided to use derma bond glue. I don't know if your recovery was due to the method used to close your cut, but this attributed to my recovery.

Good Luck!

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D.M.

answers from Tyler on

N.,

I am a 36y/o mom of 4. I have had 4 C-Sections, over 3 decades. My first one seemed horrible to me too, and the second and third were easier, but still a little rough. I just gave birth in May to our fourth child. I know that the whole experience was very different this time around. The way they anethitized me, the whole experience. I has almost no recovery time. I moved myself onto the bed from the gurney when they brought me to my room. I couldn't believe how great I felt. I didn't know what to expect with it being my fourth, but I was told that the procedures have changed a lot over the last few years, and I believe them. The nurses and doctor kept asking me if I needed any pain medication, but I didn't. I was up walking around the next morning, and I couldn't wait to do that. It was great. The only discomfort I had was when my husband took me home. The bumps down our driveway were a little rough, but other than that I had absolutely no pain. I just couldn't believe it. Good luck with your C-Section, and I hope you have as little pain and recovery time as I did.

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J.N.

answers from Dallas on

well I had my second c-section exactly 1 year and 1 month after my first c-section and yes I thought the recovery time was quicker - because you know what to expect as far as pain so you subconsciously prepare yourself for it, like when its time to get up outta the bed to take your first steps after the surgery I also found that rocking in a rocking chair helped a lot.

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L.L.

answers from Dallas on

My suggestion is to ask the dr to put a wrap (do not know what they are really called) on you while you are still asleep. My surgeries were not c-sections but removal of ovary and hysterectomy. I had an ovary removed and it felt like my insides were falling out through the incision. My hysterectomy was performed at another hospital and while I was asleep, they put the wrap on me. It was a blessing. Getting up and walking was much easier and less painful. The sooner you get up and walk the faster you heal.

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D.H.

answers from Dallas on

N.,
I had an emergency c-section with my first son and had a pretty rough recovery. Walking was way difficult for me too and in general it was just tough getting back into the swing of things. I had a VBAC with my second son and it went wonderfully. I have to say, it was soooo much better than having a c-section. (of course every one differs with whether or not their doctors will let them try for a VBAC of if they even want to). But I have talked with a lot of moms about this and have come to the conclusion that planned c-sections are much easier to recover from than emergency c-sections after having labored already. Your body is less exhausted and you have a better idea of what to expect. I hope it all goes well for you!!

D.

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W.B.

answers from Dallas on

The second time is much easier. Much, much easier. My first C-section was pretty much exactly like yours but my 2nd was great. Way less pain, up walking within 3 hours of surgery to pee. Walking arond that night in my room to pick up the baby and potty. At home I could start being a mom right away. (of course I had my mom, friends and hubby to help) Much better the 2nd time around. Good luck! You'll do great!

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S.G.

answers from Dallas on

HI N.,

I had two c-sects and the second time was much easier. I think because I knew what to expect. One thing that really helped the second time was that after the surgery my doctor put this wide stretchy band that velcro'd around my body over the incision. It gave GREAT support! Esp when you sneeze, cough and when you get up. It eas great and really helped.
Really helped when I threw up after the anesthia. Without support you feel like your going to rip open. Ask you Dr about it and if they don't put one on you in the hosp. you can buy them and take it to the hosp with you. I recommended it to my aunt when she has a hysterectomy and it was the best thing for her.
You need to get up and move, small walks in the house and then longer walks to help recovery. And that support will help tremendously.
Keep us posted.
Good Luck!
S.

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Y.D.

answers from Dallas on

I have had 2 c-sections, both were scheduled. The first one was a little rough for me, I had trouble standing and it took me about 2 weeks to feel like myself. My second one was soooooo much better. The day we came home I walked up the stairs to my apartment, and had no pain. I came inside and cleaned the living room, and had no pain. I didnt have to take any pain medicine and I was back to normal in a week. I dont suggest doing all those things, but to just give you an idea of pain level, 1st c-section was about an 8 and the second was about a 4. Good luck and take all the help you can get.

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D.

answers from Dallas on

I definitely say the second (and third) are easier. Mostly because you know what to expect, and you also know that you will get past the pain.

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J.K.

answers from Dallas on

I dont' know about your experience in 2005... but I just had a c section last June.. My first. I had a vaginal delivery in 1998. Anyway, I had a very easy time of it. I think the KEY is that the nurses got me up to walk the very first day. Also, I asked for some sort of band.. (don't know the name of it) but you wear it around you..around your midsection where your incision and your baby was... and it really helped.

Best of luck to you.
J.

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H.P.

answers from Dallas on

Hi, N.!
I didn't read your other responses yet-- know you have a lot--but I figured it can't hurt to share even more.
I had 2 c-sections. For my first child, I was intent on having a natural childbirth-- no drugs or anything! But, that was all crushed when complications led to being induced 4 weeks early, then after 36 hrs. of hard labor, a c-section. I was devestated! The pain was nothing compared to the over 24 hrs. I spent shaking uncontrollably after surgery and the 2 months of nausea I experienced afterwards. However, to my shock, 6 months after that experience, I was pregnant again! I didn't know how I could go through it all again-- but of course we do. This time, it was scheduled and planned. Of course, I was still terribly nervous. Again, I endured over 24 hours of uncontrollable shaking. But, I was up and walking the next day and home to my other daughter just 2 days later. The recovery wasn't as bad this time, no 2 months of nausea, no drastic hair loss, etc. However, it did take about a year to get my body healthy again. I was completely depleted-- albeit I think it may have been from being pregnant for virtually 2 years straight! I go back and forth in my decision to have another child-- I LONG for another baby, but the process is never fun. Writing this to you though, I fully believe that it is all worth it in the end. It will be a rough day/few days, but you are trading it for a lifetime of joy.

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

It is definitely easier the second time around. I don't think your body is in as much shock, it's already been there once before. It seemed to take me a long time to recover too from my first born in 2005. I felt as good as I did a month after having my first son, in about 4-5 days after having my second son!! It's harder the second time only for the fact that you feel your are able to do more in less amount of time. You have to be careful there. I hope your recovery is as well as mine was. Oh by the way, if you are able to choose between a spinal or an epideral this time, go for the spinal! It was wonderful and far less painful than the epideral.

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E.J.

answers from Dallas on

My 2nd and 3rd c-section was much better than the 1st one. I was up and out of bed the next day and wanted to go home but of course I couldn't I felt like I had a lot of energy. I think it was because I knew what going to happen and I was better prepared mentally. The first one I didn't know what was going on and I was scared and I was in a lot of pain.
Good Luck and congrats!

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S.E.

answers from Dallas on

For what it is worth, repeat C sections are supposed to be easier.

My experience comes from working in a new born unit for some years and talking to lots of moms who all had different experiences.

I guess you are committed to another C section rather than a VBAC. Well, regardless, walking is your friend. Walk girlfriend, walk. Go to the corner and back. The more you walk the more you tone your childbirthing stuff. Gravity is your friend, especially if your new baby has the good sense to be head down.

I cannot speak from cesarean experience. I dropped my kids all off in the afternoon (mostly) I know that walking helps tone all of the muscles that are used in birthing. Walking while in labor helps move those critters in the right direction.

If you have a repeat C-Section, do not push yourself. It will likely be easier but you've got troops waiting for you at home. This is the time where you need to recharge your batteries and take care of the new baby and rely on family to help you corral the older ones. Insist that you get at least two weeks of sitting on your butt nursing your baby. You can put a load of laundry in after that, but I'd be making hubby sort the laundry in front of you at your most convenient location.

Older kids can carry diapers. they are often really willing to help especially if they understand that the new baby is their baby too.

Older kids understand being tired and cranky. Sometimes they can help a lot when they know that their beloved momma is worn to a nub. The more the kids help you, the closer they will be to the new sibling. They are taking ownership of their new sibling.

Good luck to you! I look back on those days with fondness. I wish I knew then what I know now!

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M.A.

answers from Dallas on

yes second one was way easier. I was stappled with both, but with the second that am, I got up and took a shower and walked. Take it easy but do walk every day, even to get ice for yourself. I came home, and my husband stayed home for 2 weeks to help with the kids. After that I was good to go. Relax as much as you can. Let eveyone cook for you and follow the dr.s orders.

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R.L.

answers from Dallas on

it was easier for me.

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K.K.

answers from Dallas on

Congratulations! how exciting for you and your family.
I am the mother to 3 beautiful girls, all by C-section.
the first was what my husband calls the bonus plan for child delivery- 9 cm dialated for 11 hours with the contractions constant then the wonderful news of we feel theres a problem and would like to do an emergency c-section... so I can fully understand the hard recovery for you after the birth of your first child,but the recovery for you after this birth will be better for you I wont say "easier" because you already know what to expect from the surgery. Only moms who have had c-sections know what we are talking about. The burning feeling
and the terrible discomfort when you try to sit up, sneeze, cough or laugh. HA HA! But knowing what you do will better prepare you for your speedy recovery. You should keep in mind that it will be better for you to get yourself up as soon as you can the day after .Remember to roll out of bed and to not pull on your stomach too soon but walking will work wonders.
And I promise that having older kids at home will help you to get back sooner because well lets face it you will have to.
Remember that you are having surgery and should set a safe pace for yourself,let you daughter help, give her the title of Jr. mom and remember to keep her involved with the baby so she wont feel left out and know the role will really help you.
Keep a small full pillow with you so you can use it to help when and if you need to cough or sneeze, you press the pillow gently on your stomach to cough or sneeze and it will greatly deminish the discomfort. Lots of cranberry juice will keep you hydrated and keep you from any yeast-like infections.
Best Wishes to you and yours Sincerely K. K.

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C.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hi N.,

I have had two c-sections and it was easier the second time around. I think for the first one I was so worried about moving around and if I was going to hurt myself...and with the second one you just go. I didn't have half the pain I did with the first one. In fact I stopped taking the prescription medicine and just did the advil very soon after I got home. Even the epidural was easier...since you know what to expect...you can take away the fear factor...you know it's uncomfortable, you know already what it will feel like.....and for me it went a lot faster. It still took me about the same time to be able to get up and walk around...but this time I wasn't scared when I wasn't up and walking right away. I knew it takes my body a little longer...they had to give me a little more of the epidural both times...so both times it took me a little longer to get up. No big deal. You sound like you already have a lot going on at home....you will be a pro at it! No worries!

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D.C.

answers from Dallas on

First question, is there a medical reason why you WILL be having a c-section again? Or is it just because your OB prefers not to do a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)? Any surgery has it's risks and will have some sort of recovery time.

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