Dr. Grayson describes how a cesarean section recovery differs from a vaginal birth recovery.
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How Does A Cesarean Section Recovery Differ From A Vaginal Birth Recovery? Doctor Robert Grayson: It’s a little different than a vaginal delivery. A person, after vaginal delivery, most of their discomfort is their body aches from pushing and the pain in their bottom and around the vagina from the stretching, and sometimes some of the trauma that occurs during the process of a vaginal delivery. So those people are more uncomfortable sitting and walking. A patient who has a cesarean section kind of conversely tends to have more pain when they are getting up and down, when they are using their abdominal wall. So, they may be relatively comfortable laying still. They may be relatively comfortable once they are standing. They may actually be relatively comfortable while they are walking. The recovery process is longer certainly and requires more pain medication, so after vaginal delivery, standard hospital course might be 24 to 48 hours. After cesarean section, it’s more two to four days though with regional anesthetics, or people who get an epidural rather than going to sleep, they get prolongation of the affect of the epidural so they are comfortable for a longer period of time. That allows them to ambulate sooner so they are up and walking. They transition to oral pain medications within 24 hours. They are eating regular food within 24 hours and usually, all their catheters and IVs are taken out within a 24 hour period of time. Then after going home those people have lifting restrictions, which people who have vaginal deliveries don’t have. So, they can’t lift their babies and they can’t lift things really basically heavier than about a gallon of milk for a three to four week period of time and then no aggressive lifting or exercise for four to six weeks.