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The Truth About C-Sections

Pregnant and thinking about having a C-section? Learn about the risks, benefits, and recovery.

After the C-section

"Recovery from a C-section isn't easy," Economy says.

The typical hospital stay for a C-section is four days, compared to the two that new moms need after a vaginal birth, Economy says.

Immediately after the procedure is over, you'll still have a catheter in, the effects from the regional anesthesia will linger for a few hours -- which means you'll be numb from the waist down -- and you'll need narcotics for the pain.

The good news is by the next day, the catheter will come out and you'll have feeling again in your feet and legs. But you'll still need the narcotics, especially because the nurses will want you to get out of bed and move -- which will hurt -- to minimize the risk of blood clots.

C-section recovery isn't over when you go home. "Once you're out of the hospital, you can't lift anything heavier than baby for the first couple of weeks," Economy says.

And, no driving for about two weeks, no exercise for 4-6 weeks, and no sex for six weeks, Economy says.

"You are really going to feel worn down and tired after a C-section, and on top of that you have a newborn baby to take care of, so the load and the demand on your body is very high," Hoskins says. "Don't expect any great miracles before 3-4 weeks, and many women will go up to three months to be 100%."

A C-section may sound intimidating, but thousands are successfully performed in the U.S. every day, resulting in happy and healthy moms and babies.

"The important message is that both [vaginal and C-section births] are safe," Economy says. "But it's also important to keep in mind that if you compare a vaginal [birth] that goes well and a C-section that goes well, a vaginal [birth] is still far safer."

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Reviewed on February 02, 2010

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