Your Pregnancy After 35 : After Baby’s Birth (part 6) - Recovery from a Cesarean Delivery, Birth Control after Pregnancy, Resuming Sexual Relations

- Give Up Coffee For Beautiful Breasts
- Welcome to your First Trimester
- Welcome to your Second Trimester
- Welcome to your Third Trimester

Recovery from a Cesarean Delivery

Recovery from a Cesarean delivery is different from recovery from a vaginal birth. You have undergone major abdominal surgery, so be prepared to take it easy for a while. Although you have experienced many of the same situations as someone who had a vaginal birth, you face some additional restrictions.

Get up and out of bed as soon as possible after baby is born. Moving helps prevent blood clots in the legs, lung collapse and pneumonia. Walking helps body functions, such as relieving constipation and abdominal gas.

Be careful not to strain stomach muscles. Avoid lifting anything heavy. Once home, keep your incision clean and dry, and watch for infection. Infection of a Cesarean incision usually occurs 4 to 6 days after surgery. If any of the following signs appear, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Signs of infection include the following:

redness that spreads from the edges of the incision

fever

hardness around the incision

discharge from the incision site

Although you did not deliver vaginally, you will probably experience painful uterine contractions for several days after delivery. This is a sign your uterus is returning to its prepregnancy size. If you breastfeed, you may notice the pains when your baby nurses.

You will have lochia with a Cesarean delivery. However, your discharge may be lighter than lochia that follows a vaginal birth.

If you’re interested in exercising after a Cesarean, you can usually begin light exercise about 4 weeks after birth. You can probably resume full activity between 4 and 6 weeks postpartum. Your healthcare provider can advise you.

Birth Control after Pregnancy

Contraception is something you and your partner may want to think about. You will probably begin ovulating 6 to 8 weeks after birth, and you could get pregnant again. If you do not want to have another baby very soon, discuss birth-control options with your healthcare provider in the hospital or at your postpartum checkup.

Birth-Control Methods
MethodEffectivenessReasons to Use It

Oral contraceptives (estrogen and progestin)

99%

Bottlefeeding, not breastfeeding

Oral contraceptives (progestin only)

98%

Can use while breastfeeding

Condoms

97%

Convenient and easy to use

Diaphragms

94%

Convenient to use; may need to be refitted at your 6-week checkup

IUD

98–99%

Don’t have to think about birth control; can be inserted at your 6-week checkup

Depo-Provera

99%

Can use while breastfeeding

Implantable contraceptives

97%

Can use while breastfeeding (may not be widely available)

Once-a-month birth-control

99%

Can use while breastfeeding

Breastfeeding protects you against pregnancy to some degree, but breast-feeding is not an effective method of birth control. If you breastfeed, consider birth-control methods if you want to postpone pregnancy.

If you used a diaphragm or cervical cap for birth control in the past, you need to be refitted after delivery. The size of your cervix or vagina may have changed. You may consider condoms or spermicides if you breastfeed. Neither interferes with breastfeeding.

If you bottlefeed, you may decide on a method that can be started immediately after delivery. These methods include hormone implants, Depo-Provera injections, a progestin-only pill or an IUD. If you want to use a combination birth-control pill, which contains estrogen and progestin, wait at least 2 weeks after delivery to begin.

Resuming Sexual Relations

One concern you and your partner may share after delivery is postpartum sex. Getting back into “the swing of things” after your baby is born can be difficult. Stress, hormonal changes, emotions, fatigue and other physical factors, such as bleeding, can affect your sex drive. Pain from an episiotomy or an incision can also be a factor.

We once advised women to wait at least 6 weeks before having intercourse. If you feel no pain or discomfort and your episiotomy has healed, you can resume sexual relations when you feel comfortable. Be sure bleeding has stopped. For most women, this will be at least a few weeks after delivery.

If you decide to have intercourse, you need to take precautions if you don’t want to become pregnant again. You can become pregnant before you have a menstrual period. Discuss birth-control options with your healthcare provider.

 
Others
 
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 16) - What Happens after Your Baby Is Born
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 15) - Cesarean Delivery, Vaginal Delivery of Your Baby
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 14) - What Happens after Your Baby Is Born
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 13) - When You’re Overdue
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 12) - Baby’s Birth Presentation
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 11) - Analgesics and Anesthetics
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 10) - Laboring Positions, Massage for Relief
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 9) - Coping with the Pain of Labor and Childbirth, Pain Relief without Medication
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 8) - Biophysical Profile, Fetal Monitoring during Labor
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