Q. I am currently pregnant with my third and have had two previous c-sections. I am a little hesitant with the third, only because the scar still feels numb and in some spots feels uncomfortable. I did not heal well with the last one, but it may be because I was way too active with my toddler and newborn (no outside help). Could you give me any advice on how to encourage healing?
A. Without knowing how long you waited before pregnancies #2 and #3, it's hard to say how long you can expect to feel numbness. I also just had my third cesarean four months ago and my incision site is still quite numb, and even a bit swollen. My second and third pregnancies were nearly four years apart.
You already found out what most moms do: it's harder to get fit and recover from a pregnancy and cesarean birth if you already have a child to care for. To encourage healing after your next birth, I would reiterate the advice that the nurses we interviewed for our book gave us: rest, say "yes" to all offers of help--such as meals, play dates, laundry, errands--and so on. For at least six weeks, do virtually nothing but take care of yourself and your newborn. Your other two kids will survive a few months of "house arrest!"
We also consulted an exercise expert who created a fantastic workout for our book; she even includes some breathing and stretching exercises that you can do while you're still in the hospital! Then, once you've had your doctor's okay, you can move on to some more challenging aerobic and strength-training work, which you can do from home.
Maureen Connolly and Dana Sullivan are the authors of The Essential C-Section Guide: Pain Control, Healing at Home, Getting Your Body Back and Everything Else You Need to Know About a Cesarean Birth. Click here to read their guest interview with StorkNet!