There's a belief among some denizens of the internet that for pregnant moms, "C-sections are the easy way out." This is so far from the truth, that I'd have a laugh if it didn't make me so mad. There's nothing easy about giving birth to a child in any fashion, and the process certainly isn't made more enjoyable by throwing major abdominal surgery and a massive scar into the mix. And on top of that, there are so many C-section recovery red flags to watch out for that the first weeks after birth often leave moms feeling completely helpless.
I never expected to have a C-section when I gave birth to my daughter, but I also never expected her to remain stubbornly stuck in the womb after hours and hours of pushing. At the time, I was disappointed and even angry that I had to have a C-section. Looking back, however, I've come to be grateful to live in a time and place where doctors were able to get my daughter and I through the ordeal safely. A healthy mom and baby are all that matters when it comes to childbirth, no matter what anyone on the internet tries to tell you.
Whether your C-section was an emergency, elective, or something in between, here are some things to keep an eye on as your body recovers.
1. Your Vaginal Discharge Smells Bad
You can expect to bleed as much after a C-section as you would from a vaginal birth, so don't be shocked by the number of pads you burn through. If, however, you start having discharge that smells awful, the Mayo Clinic noted that this could be a sign that you've got an infection of the uterine lining.
2. Your Incision Is Bleeding Or Oozing
I didn't want to look at my C-section scar after giving birth, but my doctor reminded me that checking up on the incision was important for my health. You should do spot checks and if you notice that your incision has reopened at all or is bleeding or leaking, get in touch with your doctor right away according to Healthline.
3. You Have A Fever
Don't ignore it if you get a fever while recovering from a C-section. They're one of the biggest signs that you might have an infection, according to Parents, and you'll want to keep your doctor in the loop.
4. You Get A Urinary Tract Infection
Baby Center noted that if you get a urinary tract infection after your C-section, the two might be linked. Some women get UTIs after dealing with a catheter during the surgery. Note: I was horrified by the thought of getting a catheter for my C-section, but I didn't feel a thing when it was put in or taken out.
5. Your Legs Swell Or Hurt
I was so swollen toward the end of my pregnancy that I was actually a little scared when I noticed my legs had shrunk back to their original size about a week after birth. If you're having the opposite problem, however, and your legs are swelling back up and you're in pain, Healthline suggested you let your doctor know right away as this could be a sign of a blood clot.
6. You're Having Trouble Bonding With Your Baby
Having a C-section can be a disappointment for some moms, and those negative feelings can make it harder to fully enjoy your new baby according to the American Pregnancy Association. It may take time for your to come to terms with your birth, and that's okay.
7. Your Belly Won't Go Flat, Even Month After Birth
If you've bounced back to your pre-baby weight but your belly could still pass for pregnant, you might have the dread diastasis recti, according to Today's Parent. That's when your ab muscles separate, causing your belly to bulge. It's more common after carrying multiples or having repeat C-sections, but I can attest to the fact that it can totally happen after just one birth. Your doctor can give you some special exercises that can help you help.