Unfortunately, not all women get the delivery that they had hoped and planned for and end up having a cesarean section, or c-section.
A c-section means having surgery and you will have an incision in your abdomen, meaning you will need to modify your activity for some time afterwards. Many women worry about their c-section incision opening, however, there are ways to avoid this from happening. Your recovery doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
How Can My C-Section Incision be Opening?
One of the scariest moments after a c-section is that moment you look at your incision. Although, you soon realize it’s not as horrific as you imagined. However, the worry that it might just burst open is still very real in your mind.
It is normal to feel that way, but if it really does start to open you might have to worry a little.
After a c-section, you will be given after care instructions by your doctor or nurse. It is important that you follow these words to the letter in order to avoid issues.
If you choose to ignore them or just push yourself a little too hard, you may notice issues, like your incision opening.
Too much bending
Lifting objects that are heavier than your infant
Clothing that rubs against your incision
Having a vertical incision
Stitches/Staples came out
Should I Call the Doctor?
In most cases, a small opening is not a medical emergency. It does mean you should monitor the incision site, though, and if you notice it starting to gape open more or if you see a discharge happening, call your doctor. If you really are unsure, and feel overly anxious, it is ok to ask your healthcare provider for help.
You should look out for serious symptoms which need to be addressed as soon as possible, such as:
Bleeding that won’t stop from the incision
Strange discharge from your incision
Urination is painful or you cannot go
Redness and warmth around your incision starts spreading
Inability to keep in any fluids
How to Take Care of Yourself Post C-Section
As if having a newborn at home to disrupt your sleep and worry over their well-being wasn’t enough, you also have to be concerned with self-care.
After your c-section you need to allow yourself sufficient time to heal, both physically and in some case emotionally as well, especially if a c-section was not planned.
Your doctor will send you home with specific instructions on how to care for yourself and your incision site.
You will need to keep your incision. It is important to shower every day to keep the wound clean. Just let the soapy water run over your incision instead of directly washing it.
Get as much rest as possible (yes, it is going to be challenging!). Sleep when your baby sleeps if you have no other children at home. If so, get someone in to help you.
Do not lift ANYTHING heavier than your newborn.
Drink plenty of fluids to help flush out your system and keep you hydrated. This also keeps you urinating frequently and using your bladder muscles
Monitor your vaginal bleeding for any sudden increase
Eat lots of iron-rich foods to combat your blood loss and avoid low iron
What is Normal to Expect in Recovery?
Everyone will heal differently and at different rates, however there are some common symptoms that you could experience during your recovery stage. Since these are quite common, a call in to your doctor is not typically necessary.
You should call, though, if these symptoms worsen or if you experience any of the other warning signs previously mentioned.
Vaginal bleeding which stops and then starts again
Brown spotting after red flow has ceased
Itchiness around the incision
Moderate cramping (similar to menstrual cramping)
Sore abdominal muscles (especially when coughing, going to the bathroom)
Minor swelling around your incision
Restriction driving a vehicle for a short period until you have full range of motion
Having a c-section may not be your ideal method of giving birth, but it doesn’t have to be as difficult to recover as you may be worried about. Following your doctor’s instructions carefully and monitoring how your body is feeling are key in healing well.
Should you experience any symptoms, including opening of your incision, which are alarming, you should call your doctor for guidance.
Hopefully this has helped you to decide whether what you are experiencing is part of normal recovery or if you should call your healthcare provider. Our readers are very important to us, so we would love to hear from you with your feedback or comments. Please drop us a line.