Recovering from a difficult birth

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Recovering from a difficult birth
Recovering from a difficult birth

No matter how much you prepare, not all births are fairy tales, and it's completely normal to have dead batteries after a difficult experience.


There are several reasons why your delivery may not go as planned. In fact, approximately 20% of deliveries in Quebec still end in caesarean section and although episiotomy is less practiced these days, certain procedures can make convalescence more difficult and longer.

Caesarean section

Contrary to what some people believe, a cesarean section is an important surgical procedure. Also, after the procedure, you will need someone to move, to help you change position, get up. Shortly after the C-section, laughing will cause you pain, as will sneezing or blowing your nose.

Coughing? Hold your scar with your hands. You can also place a pillow on your stomach, and breathe calmly

Wear panties one size larger, or boxers that will still allow you to place a sanitary napkin, because lochia and bleeding are the same (sometimes more abundant) than for natural childbirth.

Furthermore, anesthesiaand manipulating certain organs will probably make your bowel “lazy”: you could therefore suffer from constipation and gas.

  • Tighten your abs as you exhale.
  • Massage your belly clockwise.
  • Do not hesitate to walk: exercise stimulates transit.
  • Drink water.


Immediately after the operation, you will normally feel like you will never be able to walk again! However, you will be invited to do it fairly quickly, with help. Of course, this is difficult and painful, but it is also important to move, in order to promote blood circulation, to avoid the formation of clots. To do this, you can also adopt some easy exercises, moving your legs and ankles when you are lying down.


Will a C-section prevent you from breastfeeding? No. But it may be that your scar, painful, complicates your life a little. The important thing is that you adopt a position that will be comfortable for you and your baby. With someone to help pick up the baby, place it, you should be fine!



Depending on your condition and the maternity ward where you gave birth, you will go home about 4 to 5 days later. Obviously, you need to rest as much as possible. That being said, be patient: some women recover quickly from aCaesarean section, others take up to 6 months or even a year before feeling really fit.

  • Usually, a woman who has had a caesarean section is prohibited from driving for a period of about 4 to 6 weeks. Turning the steering wheel and stopping suddenly could cause pain.
  • Do not lift heavy objects.
  • Do gentle exercises that you will have been offered at the maternity ward.
  • Ask for help!
  • Massage your scar regularly with moisturizing cream or milk. By promoting blood circulation, you also accelerate healing.
  • Vomiting, fever, calf pain, heavy bleeding? Contact your doctor immediately.

Episiotomy and stitches

An episiotomy is an incision (2.5 cm to 5 cm long) made in the lower part of the vagina to facilitate passage of the baby through the time of childbirth. It is rarely practiced today, but some doctors still use it.

  • To avoid infection following an episiotomy, change your sanitary napkin every four to six hours.
  • Clean the perineum after urinating or bowel movements by pouring warm water over the area and dabbing with gauze pads to dry, or with a clean, soft washcloth. Remember to wipe from front to back as well.
  • Kegel exercises, contractions and relaxations of the pelvic floor, allow circulationthe blood in that part of the body and thus promotes healing.
  • Coughing? Breathe gently. It will pass.
  • If the pain is too strong, you can take non-prescription painkillers recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.
  • To promote healing, stock up on protein, vitamins and fluids. And of course, eat a balanced diet as much as possible!


This is true after all births, and especially for those that have been difficult: you need to rest. Rest is indeed essential for proper healing.

  • The first few days, lie down.
  • Don't overdo it: you're already taking care of the baby. For everything else, delegate!
  • Sleep as soon as the baby sleeps.
  • Take naps as often as needed.


A difficult childbirth obviously leaves not only traces on the body: it can also mark the mind, even create psychological trauma. Disappointment, anger, resentment can indeed come to tarnish this moment that we would have liked to be perfect. It happens that some women, who would have wanted several children, decide not to get pregnant again, for fear of going through “hell” again. It goes without saying that a trauma of this kind can have several repercussions, on morale, of course, but also on the bond of attachment with the child. This is why it is important to free oneself from thispain.

Furthermore, a difficult delivery, which does not end as planned, is not the fault of the mother. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for women to feel guilty or unable, because they have not been able to give birth naturally. If this is your case, Virginie Lanoix's book, A Birth Without Disappointments, could help you feel guilty.


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