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Recovering from major abdominal surgery is not something most pregnant women want to think about. Most of us have other plans for our "babymoon", but if you do happen to end up with a c-section, knowing what your recovery period will be like, and what you can do to make it easier is essential. Whether you are having a planned cesarean (for signs and symptoms of preeclampsia, for instance), or end up with an emergency c-section, recovering from your birth will have challenges that are easier to overcome if you know what to expect. Let's look at recovery from a c-section, and what you can do to make it the least difficult.

Your first question is likely to be, "will I be in pain after my c-section?". Most women who undergo a cesarean will receive epidural anesthesia, with a smaller percentage getting a spinal, and very few women needing emergency c-sections will have the procedure performed under total anesthesia. For those who had epidural or spinal anesthesia, post-surgery pain relief is not complicated. Morphine can be added to the anesthetic you receive, and this form of pain relief is extremely effective without causing you to be totally "out of it". Morphine will work for 24 hours after your c-section. After that, pain relief medication in the form of pills will be offered to you. Most women will feel groggy and nauseated in the first few hours or days.

The vast majority of women who had a surgical birth is able to home after three or four days. You will not be able to lift anything heavier than your baby for the first six weeks and should avoid any strenuous physical activities, including housework. At the same time, it is important to get up and walk to help the recovery process. Your doctor will prescribe you pain killers to help deal with the pain after you get home, and explain what you will and won't be able to do. Your incision will feel sore, and might be painful upon bending, sneezing, or coughing. While this is normal, it is important to monitor the incision and let your care giver know immediately if you have signs of infection. Recovering from a c-section takes time, but most women will be able to start exercising after six weeks, and will feel fine even before that. Your OB will be in your life for a bit longer than you expected. Do coordinate exercise plans with them, and also consult your doctor before you try to conceive again after a c-section.

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