Five weeks post c-section- how much activity?

(38 Posts)
TeaJunky Wed 09-Jan-13 17:13:26

I'm five weeks (six weeks on Friday) post EMCS and wondering how much activity/housework is OK at this point without overdoing it?
Up until now, DH has done all of the cooking, cleaning and general house chores. He did the night feeds for the first three weeks, and also does the school run for dd1. I've been concentrating on baby feeding/bathing during the day and night feeds now for past 2 weeks.
I do feel like I'm recovering but also get tired really quick. I am anaemic so on iron tabs. From Monday DH will be concentrating on work again so I'll be doing the cooking.

Just wondered how much activity/housework everyone did post c section and when , and when do you start feeling completely ok again? <having a bit of a down day here I think, plus staying at home all day may be driving me nuts>

Lovejesus Wed 09-Jan-13 17:35:45

I went 2 c the doctor about 4 weeks after section and he said it was ok 4 me 2 drive. I would still b cautious lifting anything 2 heavy eg saucepans of potatoes, wet washing basket etc but would by this stage b dusting, cleaning bathroom, dishes etc. hoovering? Maybe a wee bit but not carrying it downstairs. Hope this helps.

TeaJunky Wed 09-Jan-13 17:37:42

lovejesus thanks that's helpful. So light chores. Damn, and I had myself convinced doing the dishes was harmful grin

TeaJunky Wed 09-Jan-13 18:07:54

Anyone else?!

DolomitesDonkey Wed 09-Jan-13 18:10:02

Did housework the day I got home, walked in to town same day. Drove after 10 days and rode my sports horse at 6 weeks. All following emcs for PE and whilst still taking meds.

TeaJunky Wed 09-Jan-13 18:15:13

Wow Dolomites! Did you do all this through feeling pain?

Many family and friends have advised me to have complete bed rest for the first six weeks - with the warning that 'you'll feel it afterwards if you overdo it now'. I was wondering how much truth there was in that.

TeaJunky Wed 09-Jan-13 18:18:43

What's PE?

DD, ELCS, light house work after a couple of weeks, driving at 4 weeks.

DS, ELCS, light house work after 3 days, theme park day 7, driving after 3 weeks.

My recovery was pretty quick, no complications, scar healed well etc

I stopped meds after about 2 weeks with them both

DolomitesDonkey Wed 09-Jan-13 18:32:28

PE = pre-eclampsia

Yes, there was a little pain - like if you've had a hard session at the gym. But far from bed-ridden!

I can't imagine being inactive for 6 weeks. sad

redandwhitesprinkles Wed 09-Jan-13 18:34:58

I could barely walk so I think anything more trying than looking after the baby is too much! wink

ShowOfHands Wed 09-Jan-13 18:37:43

I have had 2x emcs. I didn't take any painkillers with either as I was fortunate not to need them. I was discharged after 12hrs first time round and I took it a bit easy for a week but I still cooked and did light cleaning from about day 3. By 2 weeks I was pretty much back to normal activity. Waited for my 6 week check to do anything like proper exercise though.

2nd time round I had a dd just starting school (4 days post cs) so was doing a long school run, walking 2 miles there and 2 miles back by 7 days post cs (dh had to go back to work). I worked up to proper exercise again and was doing light cardio and resistance by 5/6 weeks and was back running again at 8 weeks.

bonzo77 Wed 09-Jan-13 18:37:45

It's so variable and depends entirely on how you feel. If you just don't feel up to it......

I'm 5 weeks post ELCS tomorrow. I was off painkillers at about 5 days, light house work on day of discharge (day4) and fully functional including driving by 2 weeks. Will be back riding nutcase horses on Sunday.

After my emcs 2.10 years ago recovery was slower so drove at 4 weeks, riding at about 4 months (more due to lack of horse though). I actually over did it initially last time and ended up with a minor infection of the incision.

If you have a classical (vertical) incision, unusual these days, I understand recovery can take far longer.

ShowOfHands Wed 09-Jan-13 18:41:59

Meant to say there is no right or wrong. You have to listen to your body, not push it while still on painkillers as you might mask warning signs and do as little or as much as you are ready to.

There is v good evidence to suggest that getting up and about asap post cs is vital for good recovery but whether you want to be doing marathons at 12 weeks or laps of the fridge, is up to you and your recovery. In fact pre-12 weeks the hospital and physio would tell you that high impact exercise is not recommended. I was back running pre 12 weeks with ds but I would never recommend it to anybody else!

Gintonic Wed 09-Jan-13 18:42:51

It took me 3 months to be able to do anything energetic, though I had other problems too. I did find that if I overdid it I was knackered and sore the next day. Best to build up slowly.

TeaJunky Wed 09-Jan-13 18:53:07

Wow bonzo...can't believe all these horse riders, just the thought of getting on to a horse frightens the life out of me !

I braved ikea yday tho so I can't be that bad grin

show yes you're right. I'm off painkillers a week in, and don't have constant pain, just odd twinges and pulling feeling sometimes.

TeaJunky Wed 09-Jan-13 18:55:08

red I could
Barely walk in the first week too, and when I did I was like an old lady blush
Not a good look at 28 confused

dolomites... I've not been inactive blush.. Just not very active !

LivingThings Wed 09-Jan-13 19:42:10

I have had 2 ELCS and was back out running at 5 weeks post CS. Do as much as you are comfortable with.

1944girl Wed 09-Jan-13 20:23:42

Complete bedrest for 6 weeks? I wish my relatives had been of that opinion.

I have two EMCS-in '69 and '72.In those days you were in hospital for 2 weeks afterwards and had the vertical incision.
Once home it was up to you.I was back to my normal routine after 2 days at home the first time-when DH went back to work.Second time he was away in Merchant Navy, I had 2 year old to cope with as well.MIL would come and take older child out for a couple of hours, after cuddling the baby, my mother was ''too busy'' to put in much of an appearance.No one ever mentioned 6 weeks in bed.I used to guard my incision by holding in my tummy-ouch! before doing anything heavy like lifting toddler never thought of it before lifting wet washing though.
You are very lucky to have help, enjoy it while you can.

TeaJunky Wed 09-Jan-13 20:37:30

1944girl.. shock Wow.. I thought it was normal for most people to have bed rest for that long, but thinking of it now, obviously it's not practical or possible for everyone. Why did they do the vertical one before and why the bikini cut now? What's the difference?

Lozza70 Wed 09-Jan-13 20:45:24

I've had 2 EMCS. With both I was out of bed and walking around the ward within 12 hours though with the first I was very tired as I had been in labour for 2 days beforehand. I was doing light household chores and all feeds as soon as I got home and driving within 3 - 4 weeks. I was having days out, shopping etc. within 7 or 8 days. I think I recovered from both CS relatively well and took pain relief for as long as I thought was necessary but I think you have to listen to your own body. The only thing I would not do is hover as you twist at the waist, I have a horror story about someone that did, yuk!

1944girl Wed 09-Jan-13 23:53:08

Hello TeaJunky.

Back in ''my day'' it was 1969 when I had my first section all sections were done with the vertical incision.My DS1 went into transverse lie in labour which also had a bearing on it-easier to get him out and it had to be quick as he was distressed.This was the reason why a limit was put on the amount of ceasarians you could have as this type of scar was wore likely to rupture in future pregnancies and labours.
By the time I had my DS2 in 1972 the bikini cut was being used.The internal incision is in the lower segment.I dont know exactly when it started to be used.This type of scar heals quicker than the vertical one and there is less risk of rupture in the future which is why the number of sections you can have now is more than two.Because I had had the vertical cut the first time I had to have it the second time as well because it would mean two scars otherwise.
Another good thing about the bikini cut is that it is barely visible when the pubic hair grows back which means you can wear a bikini without the scar being visible.The vertical cut is visible permantly.After 40 years there is still a line going down the middle of my abdomen from just below my belly button going down to my pubic hair line.I call it my baby exit.This vertical or classical incision is rarely used now.The reasons to use it now are when the baby is very premature and the lower segment has not formed properly, or the baby's position, some multiple births, and some placenta preavia when the placenta is in the lower segment and to cut through it would be very dangerous to say the least.
Please correct me if I am wrong anyone.I trained as a midwife before I had my children but never practised it so my mind may be forgetful.

Enjoy your baby TeaJunky.They are not little for long.

Haggisfish Thu 10-Jan-13 08:43:58

I would caution against the hoovering, too - this was something I found really hard for ages after my CS, because of the twisting. I'd also be wary of lifting heavy things like baskets of wet washing, just in case. Although it's great all these ther posters have been up and riding and running etc, I think they are probably at one end of the spectrum of recovery (ie the very fast and full recovery!), complete bed rest is at the other end and most people are somewhere in the middle.

noblegiraffe Thu 10-Jan-13 08:50:59

Don't push yourself just because other people have, do whatever you feel up to. I had a friend who walked for miles a couple of days before giving birth, I could barely hobble to the shops. It affects all of us differently, but if you do push yourself too much too soon, you risk hindering your recovery.

Pandasandmonkeys Thu 10-Jan-13 11:58:49

The surgeon advised me to be up and about ASAP to help with healing. I was on the meds for about two weeks. I did light house work from about 2 weeks afterwards and was back driving at 5 weeks but the to said it could have been sooner. I'm still cautious about lifting anything heavy (11weeks later) and occasionally feel a little tender if I over do it, hovering seems to be the only thing that still causes a little ache. Listen to your body and do what you feel ready to do. C section recovery is a very individual thing. My friend was very uncomfortable for weeks and weeks, but a woman on the same ward as me was literally skipping about the ward within 24 hours - while I was still hobbling like and old lady or having to be taken around in a wheel chair

ladymarian Thu 10-Jan-13 14:25:32

I had an ELCS 8 weeks ago and I tried to take things slowly. I felt I still needed painkillers (just once or twice a day) up to 4 weeks but by 5 weeks I was almost back to normal. I found heavy lifting (eg a full kettle of water, a basket of we washing, carseat with baby in it) did give me pain as did bending so I tried to avoid that as long as possible. By 6 weeks I was driving and lifting the car seat etc without any problem.
I think everyone is different and you will know yourself what is OK for you.

bitbot Thu 10-Jan-13 15:37:11

I think everyone is different, I walked 3 miles on the Sunday after having an emcs on the Thursday and losing 2.5litres of blood (refused the blood transfusion), friend couldn't walk to the front door 5 weeks post emcs...everyone just recovers differently, just listen to your body grin

Highlander Thu 10-Jan-13 20:23:58

Movement will help you recover and tone up again, but take a nap every afternoon if you can.

I was back running at 5 weeks, but as other posters have said, everyone is different.

I would be going for anhour's brisk walk every day if I were you.Pram pushing is v good exercise.

TeaJunky Thu 10-Jan-13 21:35:18

Highlander - hmmm...sounds like a good idea. Don't know how brisk it will be like, but I can try grin

NotSoNervous Thu 10-Jan-13 21:48:08

I recovered really well and quick from my section but I could tell when I was over doing it because my scar would start to hurt and tug. What I done was just gradually do more, if I felt that I could do it and was able I would an if I couldn't do it then DP did. You know your own body and you'll know if your doing to much to soon

Mutley77 Thu 10-Jan-13 21:52:05

By six weeks post-section I was back to normal. Yes there was still the odd bit of pain, but I wasn't regularly taking pain killers or anything.

I certainly had no option for six weeks recovery in bed and didn't have any long-term ill effects.

DreamingofFour Thu 10-Jan-13 21:58:18

I found that taking it easy in the beginning paid off for longer term recovery. One thing I found really tricky was supermarket trolley - I tried to push one at 4 weeks and just had to stop. Driving was easier - test your self by doing an emergency stop, if you can do that properly then you can drive.

I would say that even if you aren't being very physically active you should still try to get out of the house - one of the really nice things my husband did was take me on little drives (while he was doing the shopping), it was just fantastic to get out and see the world.

Your family sounds very caring. One of the strange benefits of having a CS was that DH took my recovery much more seriously than my after previous vaginal deliveries. In many ways the recovery time needed was similar, but it really helped that he considered it the CS a much bigger deal to recover from.

TeaJunky Thu 10-Jan-13 22:56:50

dreaming, yes I have found that too with DH. With my first birth, I had a ventouse delivery and an episiotomy with painful stitches. DH did everything for the first two weeks as that's all he had for paternity leave at the time, and when he got back to work I had to muddle on by myself during the day, even though the pain from the stitches and cut was awful.

I think also in my case, coming from a culture where a woman must rest and be looked after for a minimum of six weeks post-birth plays a part in the way I view recovery/activity levels. I used to think the whole idea of a woman not leaving the home and being looked after for so long was suffocating ...but actually, I really appreciate the concept now. There is a lot of wisdom in it! After both births, I didn't want to leave the house or do anything else except look after my
Baby and marvel at how amazing my body was to produce such a miracle grin. Having a DH who understood/shared this culture helped greatly. I do believe there is too much pressure on women to be 'back to normal' as soon as possible after the birth.
I'm nearly six weeks post birth now, and I still don't fancy getting out and about much yet.
Might start doing short walks soon though, as highlander suggested smile

TeaJunky Thu 10-Jan-13 23:03:01

I have to add that I actually have left the house several times (I'm not that bad!), and probably done similar to dreaming , with drives in the car with DH, or short shopping trips (with a cautious DH ready to rush me to the car at any point as I was a fainter in pregnancy and he's still traumatised by dramatic fainting episodes in tesco grin)

penguinplease Thu 10-Jan-13 23:12:42

due to having a lazy arse DP I was up and driving 2 days post my first section (we moved house the day I left hospital and I had to drive 100 miles to the new area we had moved to).
I was in Asda doing my shopping the day after and didn't rest at all, he was unsympathetic and totally oblivious to what I'd been through and to the fact that we had a baby to look after...

.. this has continued in a similar way through the next 2 sections, one of which he nearly missed as it almost coincided with a lads holiday he had booked.

He is mid 40s and no lad but thats another thread entirely..

anyway my advice is do what you feel comfortable doing, if you have a willing helper then use them. Sadly I had no choice and yes I am bitter!!

TeaJunky Thu 10-Jan-13 23:37:20

penguin - that is appalling. You drove 100 miles right after your c-section? And was in asda the next day??? I would be bitter too. hmm .
Not only practically is it difficult , but I struggled with the emotional side of it too if I'm very honest. I was in floods of tears for days after, just feeling upset and dissapointed about the whole thing. sad

Do you feel as though a lack of rest after your sections has had any long term effects on your overall health at all?

penguinplease Fri 11-Jan-13 00:01:44

I know when I look back I can't believe I did it and not only once but generally the same kind of thing - esp the supermarket shopping and not resting each time (but the big drive just the first time). I have had 3 sections.

I wasn't emotional or anything, I am the only person I know who had not baby blues but baby elation and was so relieved for it to all be over! I was terrified of giving birth so sections for me were a godsend.

No my long term health is fine but I think the fact that I didn't rest in the crucial early days because my DP is a lazy git has made me dislike him a bit more each time and I look back and really wish I'd just sat down and cuddled my baby a bit more instead of cleaning, cooking and shopping... can't change it now but would if I could go back definitely.

1944girl Fri 11-Jan-13 18:56:27

penguinplease I have a husband very similair to yours and can understand how you feel.
He was brought up to believe that childbirth is women's work and is a ''labour of love''-his words.He thought having babies was like shelling peas until he married me who can only give birth by section.Even then he did not want to know.

TeaJunky Sat 12-Jan-13 00:15:27

Big hugs for penguin and 1944girl
(((((((())))))))

Bloody stupid men. hmm

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