Bringing home a new baby can be physically challenging, especially for mothers who have undergone a Caesarean section at delivery. Besides dealing with a lack of sleep, fluctuating hormones, and other post-delivery issues, mothers need to pay special attention to and care for a C-section incision to prevent infection and possible tearing. By ensuring that the area is kept clean and is unencumbered by tight-fitting clothing, as well as frequently observing the area for changes, a new mother can be sure that her incision will heal properly.
Immediately after a C-section, the hospital staff will apply a sterile pad to the area, protecting it from contamination and soaking up any excess fluid. After a day or two, it will be time to take a shower. Extra care must be taken when washing the incision. Instead of scrubbing it, gently squeeze out a washcloth or loofah on the belly above the incision so the soap and water will trickle down over the incision. Be sure to use an unperfumed soap and pat the area dry lightly. Repeat this every time you shower until a healthcare professional authorizes you to bathe.
Most underwear elastic bands tend to hit the body right where the C-section incision is located, so it is a good idea to wear oversized underwear or boxer shorts until the scar is healed. Loose-fitting pants are also important, because any pulling or tugging at the skin can cause the incision to pull open, as well as causing unnecessary discomfort. Use an ice pack on area every three hours for the first day or two to reduce swelling, but if swelling continues for several days, contact a medical professional to check for infection.
Other signs to look for include excessive redness, puffiness, bleeding, or discharge at the incision site. Also check for unusual warmth around the area or a fever, as these may be signs of infection. Check the incision site regularly for any unusual signs, since early treatment is the best way to prevent further complications.
Resting is an important aspect of caring for a C-section incision. There are actually two incisions — the one in the skin and an internal one in the uterus. Getting plenty of rest and lying down as much as possible will help heal both of these wounds. Avoid walking up and down stairs and do not lift heavy objects, as these may put strain on the sites.