Welcoming a baby into the world is usually one of the most exciting moments in a woman's life. There are few things better than hearing a tiny baby cry for the first time after he or she is delivered. But there are physical challenges that come after child birth, especially if a woman must have a c-section. In the U.S. 32.7% of deliveries are done via c-section, so a large percentage of mothers will have to recover from major surgery in the days and weeks after giving birth. Use the following tips to help make your recovery period after a c-section go smoothly:

Start Walking as Soon as Possible

After major abdominal surgery, there is a good chance that getting out of bed and attempting to walk is the last thing you want to do. But getting up and walking slowly can help the muscles in your stomach begin to heal; getting out of bed can also help get your bowels working properly again and help prevent blood clots. Your nurse will let you know when it is a good time to start walking around your room or the halls of the hospital; even if you don't want to do it, walking can help you a lot in the long run.

Stay on Top of Pain Management

As the medications administered in your spinal block or epidural wear off, you may experience pain or soreness in your abdominal region. Do not be shy about talking to your nurse about the level of pain that you are experiencing- he or she can get an order for oral or I.V. pain killers to help you feel more comfortable. It is better to take pain medication on a schedule instead of waiting until you are in extreme pain. Upon leaving the hospital, your OB/GYN will most likely give you a prescription for pain medication that you can take at home.

Prevent Constipation

Any abdominal surgery, including a c-section, can affect the digestive system, and it can take a little bit of time for everything to get back to normal. This fact, combined with taking pain medications, can lead to constipation in some women. You can help prevent uncomfortable or painful constipation after your c-section by regularly taking stool softeners, eating food that is high in fiber, and drinking large amounts of water. When you feel the urge to move your bowels in the days after surgery, don't strain or bear down too much. 

Take it Easy After Your Surgery

All women need time to heal and recover after giving birth, but mothers who have c-sections typically need extra time to make a full recovery. During the weeks after your c-section, make it a point to take it easy and not physically push yourself too hard. Avoid lifting heavy objects, get in and out of bed slowly, and do not start any exercise routine until your doctor says it is okay. To find out more, speak with someone like Patricia A. Giuffre, MD.