During pregnancy, there are always so many people around you giving heaps of advice on what or how to do things for your baby when it arrives. But sometimes very little gets advised on or spoken of when it comes to the after effects of your own body after bringing that precious bundle of joy into the world.
Often, while a new mum may become overwhelmed dealing with a brand new little life there’s some extra things that may be needing taken care of with your own body.
Below, we discuss a few handy tips to help you take care of your wound by keeping it clean and dry in the easiest, most time efficient ways possible, because you know, time is super precious and you want to enjoy every possible moment with your new baby!
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What are a C-Section incision?
There could be some difficulty dealing with the aftercare of your c-section incision and being overweight can add a few more obstacles.
Unfortunately, with being overweight and having a bigger belly due to your skin being stretched can require some extra work with keeping the incision clean and dry in order to prevent infection or scarring.
C-sections are performed for many reasons, such as the positioning of the baby, placenta issues or the baby may be in distress to name a few. Being overweight means that the incision will be a deeper wound and that means more blood vessels rupture.
About 10% of women experience wound separation and/or infection. The risk of infection increases in bigger women due to the effects excess weight has on the skin barrier and your immune system.
The excessive fluid that comes from the incision is clear, odourless and generally unharmful if you take good care of your wound. If an incision is constantly kept wet it becomes extremely difficult for it to heal and its the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive.
Due to the cut being in one of the more sweaty parts of your body, when having the extra fatty tissue it can cause more excess fluid to seep out of your wound and that is why it is crucial to keep the area clean and dry.
Cleaning your incision
Your incision wound would usually be closed up with some glue, staples or stitches and covered with a dressing when you arrive home from the hospital.
In order to clean the area your dressing should be removed. A shower is usually recommended by medical professionals as a bath can cause the wound to get too wet from soaking your body in the water.
This can slow down the healing process and cause other complications. It’s usually best to have a shower and gently wash over the incision with warm, soapy water and be sure to rinse well.
Always pat the area dry instead of rubbing with a clean bath towel. Some women may feel more comfortable washing their body and the incision area gently with a cloth for the first day or 2 before making their way into the shower.
The hospital may also send you home with a few tips and advice or step by step instructions on wound care and possibly with a cream or ointment and dressings to apply to the wound as well with instructions on when and how to apply it.
So now to the main question here, how do we help prevent any complications by keeping the wound dry?
Below are a few tips and tricks to keep the job simple with little to no effort.
Let it air out.
Due to the area of the incision, the best way to let it get some fresh air is by simply laying flat on your back allowing the area under your belly to open up.
This also serves as a great time for some skin on skin bonding with your baby by letting them lay on your chest.
Use the cool setting on your hair dryer.
Gently lift and hold your belly up with both hands and ask your partner to assist you by blowing the area using the cool setting on your hair dryer for a couple of minutes.
A quick and easy way to prevent build up of moisture if done as and when it’s needed.
Use your fan.
If you don’t have any assistance from anyone you could use a regular standing fan or desk fan
by lifting up your belly gently and standing in front of it for a few minutes and letting the cool breeze dry the area.
Use a sanitary pad.
You can use a regular sanitary pad by placing the soft absorbent side onto the wound and using the sticky side to stick it onto your underwear to keep it secure. Be sure to change it on a regular basis.
Use cloth diapers.
These are great for when you are sitting down to gently place under your belly to absorb any moisture. Be sure to swap it out now and then with a clean one.
You can also use it to gently dab the area to absorb any sweat and/or excess fluid. A clean facecloth or hand towel will also be suitable.
Wear the correct clothing.
Be sure to wear comfortable and breathable clothing to allow some air flow. Cotton is great for this as it absorbs well and is light weight.
High waisted cotton underwear would also help with absorbing moisture in the fold under your belly flap.
Take it easy
As usually recommended by medical professionals, for at least 6 weeks of having a c-section, be sure to not do any heavy lifting, exercise or strenuous activities to prevent any sweating or strain on the area.
Exercise can also cause the wound to split open again causing the healing process to take longer. It is very important for your body to get as much rest as possible at this time.
It has just been through a major surgery and along with plenty of rest it most importantly needs as much sleep as possible as sleep can help your body and wound heal faster.
Seep can be a rare opportunity with a new born but be sure to grab every opportunity to sleep while baby sleeps and also if someone offers to watch the baby – always remember it’s ok to accept help from those around you!
Sometimes the wound can feel numb or get a little itchy, usually there’s no cause for concern as this is likely to happen with the healing process. Signs of infection can be but not limited to, increase pain in the area,scar separation, swelling, smelling or discoloured discharge coming from the wound, bloody discharge etc.
If you ever have any concerns, always be sure to consult your doctor immediately for further advice. They are likely going to request for you to go back and see them to examine you and evaluate the next steps should you get an infection or you wound splits open.
Yes, your belly may hang a little more, and you may feel more self conscious about yourself but going through everything involved in a c-section is one of the most amazing things a women can do to bring a precious baby into the world safely and any belly hang or stretch mark is more then worth it for such a wonderful blessing!
You are or will be doing an amazing job taking care of your tiny human, but be sure to take care of your health, body and c-section wound too.
Motherhood is an amazing journey, and you are just getting started!