As if just the thought of giving birth isn’t overwhelming enough, when you find out you are going to have a C-section, you may begin to worry about the pain and recovery associated with the surgery. Realizing you are going to be cut open can cause all kinds of anxiety, but after the baby comes out, you’ll need to get stitches. If you are worried about the pain you might feel during and after your C-section, you might want to know, does getting stitched after a C-section hurt? I mean, really — it's normal to be worried about everything hurting.
Romper reached out to Dr. Amy Peters, an OB-GYN with Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, who says that because a C-section is a major abdominal surgery, it will be painful, but the actual stitches don’t have much to do with the level of the post-operative pain. Dr. Mary O’Toole, OB-GYN at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California agrees, and tells Romper that the pain you feel is usually from nerves being severed in the subcutaneous layer during surgery. She says that you might feel a “burn type of pain” or numbness, but the pain should decrease within the first two weeks after your C-section.
But don’t freak out too much — most doctors will make sure you are properly anesthetized during your C-section, so you probably feel more of a tugging sensation than pain. O’Toole explains that she very carefully and thoroughly tests patients before starting the C-section. “If we are not confident in the patient’s comfort, the anesthesiologist may do repression (tilt the bed) to allow for better distribution of the spinal medication." She adds that they may add an IV medication to the spinal medications, or even use a local anesthetic on the incision site if necessary.
According to the Mayo Clinic, most hospitals use a regional anesthetic during a C-section to numb out the lower part of your body, so that you can be awake during the surgery. Then, the article further explained, incisions are made into your abdomen and uterus through which your baby and placenta are taken out, and as long as there aren't complications, your incision will be closed up with sutures right after delivery. So, if the anesthesia is doing its job, you shouldn’t feel much pain.
After your surgery and stitches, when the anesthesia wears off, you may begin to feel some pain at the site of your incision. O’Toole says that doctors will usually recommend an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, which if taken consistently (about every six hours), can help reduce inflammation and pain. “We also understand that the woman has just gone through a major surgery,” adds O’Toole, “so we may prescribe a stronger pain medication.”
Peters says that to help reduce your pain, you should take your pain medication routinely for at least a few days following surgery and then start to space them out. “Don't wait too long to take pain medicine,” suggests Peters, “or it will be more difficult to control.” She says that you should also try to use proper body mechanics when moving or changing positions, so that you can avoid putting stress on your abdominal muscles. The Mayo Clinic suggested avoiding positions like squatting and heavy lifting, and using a pillow and a pregnancy belt to keep your abdomen supported.
If you are worried about having a C-section, or dealing with the pain associated with it, you should definitely talk to your doctor about your concerns. You can work out a birth plan with your doctor, and get the reassurance you need about the anesthesia and pain medications you will be receiving. You may even want to ask about getting a gentle C-section, which may provide a more relaxing and comfortable environment for you during and after the procedure.
Hopefully, soon enough, your C-section pains will be a thing of the past, and you can continue to enjoy your new baby and look forward to all the wonderful things to come.
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