What Is normal pain after a c-section?

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What Is normal pain after a c-section?
Women who deliver their baby via c-section can experience pain and discomfort for up to three months. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Kate Weber)

About one in four pregnant women in the UK delivers her baby via cesarean section, usually due to unexpected problems with the mother or baby. Even though it is now considered routine surgery, nearly all women will experience some degree of pain and discomfort after a c-section.

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Early symptoms

Right after a c-section, nearly all women experience severe abdominal pain and soreness. This pain can be eased through medication.

Later symptoms

Women should expect pelvic pain and stomach pain after a C-section. It’s not uncommon for women to experience pain, itching or tingling at the incision site. Women who have undergone a c-section also report experiencing uterine contractions as the uterus returns to its normal size and position. Due to healing scar tissue and stretched ligaments, some women experience pain during intercourse up to three months after surgery.

Time frame

Generally speaking, women who deliver their babies via c-section require a longer recovery period than those who deliver vaginally. Post c-section recovery time often depends on a woman's fitness, general health and age. Most women report feeling fine and being able to participate in normal activities within six weeks, but some women report pain and discomfort up to 12 weeks after a c-section delivery.

Precautions

Women who’ve undergone a c-section should make sure to get enough rest and not overexert themselves so that stitches stay in place and heal correctly. Women who resume normal activities too quickly can slow down their recovery time. Stitches are usually removed about a week after the c-section. As a rule of thumb, women should avoid lifting anything heavier than their baby to avoid scarring and slowing down healing.

Warning

If pain or discomfort continues more than 12 weeks after the c-section, notify your doctor immediately, as this could be due to serious problems and complications. If you are still experiencing sharp, sudden pains a couple of weeks after your c-section, talk to your doctor to ensure you are healing properly.

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