Birth recovery story by Alison, 30/07/2018
When I found out my daughter was breech, I decided to go ahead and have a planned c-section. I’d been offered an ECV but ultimately decided against it. I’d had a difficult pregnancy and had had enough. Knowing when this baby was coming and how was good enough for me.
I talked to my midwife and a friend who’d had an emergency c-section and felt ready for the procedure and the recovery process. But even though I knew it might be difficult I still got upset when this turned out to be true!
When we all came home I spent a couple of weeks at home taking it very easy. Even a sneeze or a cough could be painful, so I didn’t do much other than take a few steps around the flat when I could.
I was very lucky that breastfeeding after my c-section wasn’t too difficult, but I couldn’t hold the baby for too long. I didn’t mind too much about this, because it gave my husband, Chief Baby Burper, a chance to bond with the baby. He also did all the cooking and cleaning and how is that not a good thing?!
But, after 3 weeks or so, I began to get restless (not because I wanted to clean the bathroom, obviously). My friend had recovered quite quickly from her section and although I knew everyone was different I still felt I should be recovering faster. I started taking short walks to the shops and felt frustrated that I still felt uncomfortable – I just wanted to be outside enjoying the summer with my family and feel like a normal person again!
In the end, it took at least a couple of months for me to finally feel like I was getting somewhere.
Looking back, I was obviously far too hard on myself. I just don’t think I anticipated how sore I would feel. Of course, this now seems quite ridiculous. As my lovely health visitor and my husband kept reminding me, I’d just had major surgery!
Take my advice
To anyone else who has had a c-section I would say: don’t get too wrapped up in how long it’ll take to recover. Listen to your own body and take care of yourself. You’ll be back on your feet in your own time.
And don’t compare your c-section recovery to anyone else you know – your friends, work colleagues or NCT pals. In fact, that’s sound advice for absolutely everything related to being a new mum. Write that one down and stick it on your fridge!
More information about having a c-section
Charley, 35, from Edinburgh was amazed when she found out she was pregnant in 2018. She’d been warned that pregnancy might be difficult for her as, a few years before, she’d had 3 procedures to remove abnormal cells from her cervix. After a worrying bleed at 10 weeks, Charley was referred to Tommy’s Lothian Preterm Birth Clinic at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. With access to specialist care and monitoring, Charley’s pregnancy progressed, and baby Tommy was born in May 2019.
'I wish there was more I could say about that but it really was over so quickly!'
Learn about the emotions you may experience after your c-section and how to cope with them, including depression and PTSD if it was an emergency c-section. Find out where you can get support.
Find out how long you should wait before exercising and the activities that are safe to do while recovering. Learn how pelvic floor and abdominal exercises can help.
Learn how being overweight can affect your chances of needing a c-section and how this affects your recovery afterwards.
Find out how you can help your partner recover after having a c-section, including tips from other dads.
Find out what you can do to establish breastfeeding after a c-section, including positions to make breastfeeding more comfortable
Advice on how to make a healthy recovery at home after a c-section. Find out how long it takes to recover and how to care for your wound.