Some women say recovering from the birthing process is an even bigger battle than pregnancy itself, and they've got the battle scar to prove it: the Caesarean-section (CS) incision. For an average of six weeks, moms take great pains caring for this wound, as if it were another child. Indeed, a great perspective to take when caring for your wound is to liken it to caring for your baby. Use the following basic mantras of childcare to remind yourself how to properly care for your C-section
1. Keep “it” clean.
Be sure to wash your wound gently everyday. Wet a washcloth or bath sponge with soapy water from a mild, unscented soap brand, and squeeze it, letting the soapy water run over the wound. Never rub over the incision area, as this can disrupt the scab formation, a normal part of the healing process, not to mention that rubbing it may be painful. Make sure to rinse the area well, and pat the area dry. Once dried, leave the area uncovered for a few minutes before replacing the bandage/dressing.
Change the bandage/dressing every time it gets wet or dirty. If medical tape was used over the incision site, it's safe to bathe with it, but don't peel it off -- it will naturally come off after about 2 weeks. Don't scratch it, no matter how itchy it may get- this can cause further inflammation of the tissue and may cause infection if your fingers and hands are dirty.
Typically, the site of incision is right where the top of your underwear rests on your body. To protect your wound from being rubbed over, wear loose-fitting cotton underwear like boxer shorts or those oversized, “Granny underwear” knickers. It's also a good idea to put a sanitary napkin over the dressing. Put the adhesive side on the inside of your shirt, and replace it every few hours. This not only protects your clothing from blood (a little spotting is normal), but also helps provide a protective cushion to a sensitive area. Do not apply any creams to the area other than the prescribed antibiotics, if any.
2. Keep “it” well-fed.
To keep the scar looking as healthy and minimal as possible, it's important to respect your body's healing process. First, realize that it takes time -- don't try to rush it. To ensure a speedy recovery without compromising the health of the scar, take care of your skin from the inside out. Emptying your bowels may be painful because of the stress it places on the tissue when you “push”, so eat vegetables and fibrous foods to prevent constipation and maintain smooth bowel movements. Drinking plenty of water will help further in this.
Eat natural, wholesome foods that contain essential nutrients that promote tissue and collagen repair, like Vitamins C, D, A, and the equally important minerals like copper and zinc. Eat foods that boost immunity like ginger, garlic, and juiced vegetables, so that you can further prevent infections on top of the antibiotics you may have been given. Take probiotics to replace the good (read: immune-enhancing) bacteria that is often killed by the antibiotics. It's normal to experience numbness in the immediate CS area in the beginning, but with proper diet and exercise, this should return after one year.