THEY are on the rise in the UK, now accounting for around a quarter of all births. So what do you need to know about a C section?
Midwife Emily Street, of Bump and Beyond, gives her five tops tips for properly caring for your caesarean section wound and scar.
Emily, a mum of four, says: “It’s really important women are equipped with as much information as possible about how to care for themselves after a C section.
“After such major surgery people would usually be allowed to take time of work to rest and recuperate.
“But as any new mum will tell you, it’s not as easy as that with a new baby.”
Take care of the wound
This means washing and drying the area very carefully to keep it clean. Towels or flannels used should only be applied if they are fresh out of the wash, lessening the chances of germs being spread.
Emily said: “Mums should also check the wound daily for any signs of infection, including redness or swelling.
“Your midwife should be informed if your scar is getting redder, more swollen, or is oozing puss.
“Don’t be scared to talk about your wound, it’s completely normal to ask for advice. Prompt action will also reduce the chance of infection.”
Let your skin breathe
Mums may have their dressings removed as early as one day after the procedure – and another may not be applied. This will allow a better circulation of air, aiding a natural recovery.
Emily says: “It’s important that mums wear loose, comfortable clothes that won’t rub or irritate the wound area.
“Go for cotton underwear too, as it will be a lot kinder to the skin.”
Take it easy
Lifted anything heavy is out, so shopping or vacuuming – or any activity that adds extra pressure to the stomach muscles, including driving – is a definite no-go.
Emily says: “More and more there’s situations of wounds breaking down and the area becoming infected. And I think that’s because the mum is not having enough time to recover.
“I tell my mums to wear their pyjamas when people come over so visitors are aware that you are a patient. After all, a C section is a big surgery.
“We’re so British, and so desperate to get everything under control, but it’s important for mums to remember that their body has just done something amazing.”
Accept help from others
The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Emily says: “I advise my mums to tell people that if they want to come and see the baby they must bring a lasagne. It’s practical help like that that can make such a difference.
“Don’t worry about keeping your home spotless. People are there to see the baby and expect a little mess.
“Having a partner who can take time of work is a huge benefit, as is inviting friends to take some of the strain.
“Household chores can be put on hold for at least a fortnight but do keep mobile – this can help prevent a blood clot. And light exercise, including gentle walking, can also prove beneficial to recovery.”
Don’t neglect your scar
C section scars are a reminder of your new addition, but it doesn’t mean they have to take over your body.
After your wound is fully healed, silicone-based gels can be applied twice a day to relieve associated pain and discomfort.
Nourisil™ MD Silicone Scar Gel can also help to fade, smooth and flatten a scar thanks to its unique formula of five silicones and vitamin E.
Emily says: “Healing takes time, so don’t expect miracles overnight. But after your wound is fully healed there are steps you can take to reduce your scar.
“Massaging is key, and silicone-based gels can help to reduce redness and inflammation.”