If you've had a c-section your recovery from pregnancy will be slightly different from women who had a vaginal birth. You should have already been given some advice about how to look after your wound, but as well as the physical effects of the wound healing, having a c-section can also affect you in other ways.
A c-section incision is a significant wound and can be painful. You might find the pain, especially in the early days, is limiting your movement and you need more help with tasks such as lifting the baby out of the cot. Lots of new mums are keen to re-establish their exercise routines as soon as they can find the time, however, it normally takes a good 6 weeks for you to recover from a c-section so make sure you don't attempt anything until your doctor gives you the all clear, as it will only slow down your recovery in the long term.
Coping with a new baby, even when everything goes to plan, can be very stressful. On top of that the stress of having a c-section, especially when it wasn't planned, can add further stress. However, stress has been found to delay wound healing so it's important to try and minimise it as much as is realistically possible. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you are finding that the pain of the wound is making caring for your baby and carrying out simple tasks more difficult. It will help you recover faster.
Nowadays the incision is often made very low and hidden in the natural creases on the body to limit the physical appearance of the resulting scar. However, this may not be the case if you had an emergency c-section as the focus would have been on carrying out the procedure as quickly as possible.
Once the wound has healed and you've had the stitches removed it will probably look a bit scary, with a vivid red colour and maybe even feeling a bit lumpy. Don't worry as this is perfectly normal for a fresh scar. The scar will fade and mature over 18 months and naturally improve in appearance. Depending on the severity of your scar and your skin type you may have been given advice about how to care for your scar and possibly even recommended products to help. If not, a pharmacist could be a good source of advice as they are fully trained and you don't need an appointment so it may be easier for you. Once the skin has fully healed, you can help to improve the appearance of the scar by applying a topical product such as Bio-Oil.
Find out what changes to expect.
Download the Little Book of Pregnancy advice featuring tips and stories from real mums