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ELCS: How long does it really take to recover?
43

Miller2021 · 05/05/2022 12:03

Hi everyone. I've had some really conflicting advice about elective sections and the recovery time, so I was hoping you could help me out with your experiences.

If you had an elective caesarean, how long was it until you could:

  • Leave the hospital
  • Do day-to-day things without significant pain (regardless of whether you had to keep taking painkillers regularly to do this)
  • Stop taking painkillers altogether
  • Pick up anything heavier than your baby
  • Drive
  • Have sex
  • Anything else you feel is significant?

I know there are various guidelines about times when you can do certain things, but I'm wondering about when you actually felt ready and comfortable.

Many thanks in advance for your help!
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Miller2021 · 16/05/2022 11:18

Thank you all so much for your replies, I genuinely really appreciate it.

So it sounds like, at best, we're looking at: Up & about and out of hospital in 24-36 hours, able to get out & get on with "normal" life (perhaps with discomfort & moving quite slowly) within 2-3 days (but take painkillers religiously), pain easing off after the first week.

But I need to plan for: Being unable to do much for the first week and a little more in the second week, trouble sleeping for at least a few nights, perhaps a month before being able to get around outside & go for long walks etc, and I might be able to drive after 2 weeks but should plan for 4-6 weeks. In rare cases I might have ongoing issues/pain. And sex will happen when it happens!

Does that sound about right?

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lloe7 · 16/05/2022 13:37

AmbushedByCake1 · 05/05/2022 12:18

Mine was a breeze. Up and walking same day. Discharged from hospital day after. Took my painkillers religiously. Out for a walk at about 3 days post section.

My experience was the exact same Grin

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Thebeastofsleep · 23/05/2022 19:10

If you had an elective caesarean, how long was it until you could:

  1. Leave the hospital
  2. Do day-to-day things without significant pain (regardless of whether you had to keep taking painkillers regularly to do this)
  3. Stop taking painkillers altogether
  4. Pick up anything heavier than your baby
  5. Drive
  6. Have sex
    Anything else you feel is significant?

  7. Was 24 hours, would have been longer if they'd had the choice. I was ready to go after 12.
  8. 3 or 4 days
  9. 10 days, could have been sooner but one of my stitches was too tight, when I cut it at 10days I didn't need painrelief any more
  10. About a week
  11. I didn't for 4 weeks because I didn't need to
  12. No idea!
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fring · 23/05/2022 19:15

I thought there was something wrong with me initially as I found the first few days tough.
Discharged morning after & only had paracetamol. 10 days before I felt up to much. Even though I felt capable I didn't do much for 6 wks so I could heal.

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fring · 23/05/2022 19:16

Going to the toilet was not an issue at all.

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fring · 23/05/2022 19:19

My VB recovery was much easier & I expected similar.

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StillUp · 23/05/2022 19:26

I’ve had an EMCS and an ELCS. Recovery was pretty similar for both except I was absolutely shattered after the EMCS having not slept for 3 days. I’ll use my most recent experience which was the ELCS.

Leave the hospital - I was home exactly 24 hours later.

Do day-to-day things without significant pain (regardless of whether you had to keep taking painkillers regularly to do this) - showering, dressing, all baby care straight away, light housework, laundry, dishwasher etc within 1-2 weeks. Probably could have done bits earlier but DH was there and I didn’t need to.

Stop taking painkillers altogether - I actually needed to get stronger painkillers for night time at about a week as I was really uncomfortable through the night, but only needed them for a few days and I think I’d stopped taking any at all by 3 weeks, the last few days just being the odd paracetamol.

Pick up anything heavier than your baby - about 2 weeks I think.

Drive - I waited the 6 weeks, because I didn’t need to go anywhere alone and much prefer being driven.

Have sex - a couple of months because neither of us could be bothered.

Anything else you feel is significant? - there were a few painful periods, E.g. I neglected my painkillers and overdid the movement on the first night at home, but generally my recovery from both was much better than I expected.

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StillUp · 23/05/2022 19:29

Just read your second post, I was out for a walk with the pram after about a week and doing the school run after 2. Could have managed longer walks by about 3 weeks. I was up and about after about 16 hours but just because of the timing of the section - most of that was overnight. I was up and in the shower about 8 hours after my EMCS.

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Nat6999 · 23/05/2022 22:53

I left hospital on day 4 after my emcs, I'd been kept in due to pre eclampsia & hellp syndrome but discharged myself due to lack of care.
I carried ds upstairs to bed the day we came home as exh had mobility issues due to MS.
I stopped painkillers the day we came home as the hospital hadn't been giving them me as per the doctor's instructions & I was used to managing without.
I was back driving by 14 days after ds was born, exh couldn't drive due to his MS.
We went out to see friends & have a meal at our local Wetherspoons when I had been home a week.

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Nat6999 · 23/05/2022 22:55

I didn't have sex for at least 3 months,nothing to do with the C section, more to do with the fact I knew my marriage was a massive mistake.

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Thejoyfulstar · 23/05/2022 23:02

1st CS DC1 Emcs. Up and about within days, out for dinner and walking around a shopping centre when baby was 8 days old. The thought 'what's all the fuss about c sections?' crossed my mind. Easy, straightforward, pretty painless. Didn't take so much as a paracetamol.

2nd Cs DC3: ELCS worse than the first by far. Finally understood what people meant when they talked about 'the recovery'. Not just the c section wound but this time I had painful trapped wind that I didn't have first time around. Turned a corner at 3 weeks post partum, but it took the full six weeks to feel normal. I it took painklers a lot and kept muttering how i wasn't having any more kids. 3 months on and pretty much back to normal.

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Sbqprules · 23/05/2022 23:07

Within a few days I was back to normal and caring for toddler and newborn. Natural birth was even easier to recover from. I had horrendous pregnancies though. So swings and roundabout. Sorry; but You won’t know till it’s your turn. But I understand how hearing other women’s experiences of conception/pregnancy/child rearing etc etc can provide comfort. Hence why I’ve been a member of mumsnet for over 15 years🤗

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1963andbewildered · 23/05/2022 23:09

First ELCS I stayed in hospital for 5days …I was in a cottage hospital for a few days post op and was literally looked after by the midwives ….baby taken away overnight..hot chocolate at bed time and even the cleaner carried my son around whilst hoovering Those days for me helped me so much!!
Second time all ok but not home for a few days…was out shopping by day 5 with two toddlers !! I definitely recovered faster after the ELCS than my first …vaginal birth !

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NewYorkLassie · 23/05/2022 23:18

I was back in the gym many, many months before I had sex.

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Silverswirl · 23/05/2022 23:26

Didn’t anyone here have the leg pump things on to stop blood clots? Mine were on for hours and over night the first night!
OP many people on MN seem to regale stories of skipping about straight out of the operating room almost. It’s a major operation and taking it very easy is strongly required for the first week at least.
For me I found recovery hard.
It took a few hours for the anesthetic to wear off and when it did I felt horribly sick. They gave me medicine through the drip to help with that- it’s a side effect of the spinal.
i had my section at 9:30am
The catheter was in until the following morning so I couldn’t have got up even if I wanted to.
I could hold my baby but couldn’t get him out of the side crib at all, struggled to put him back.
I think they made me get up the following day and also I needed to pee in the bowl. Literal agony and it took a long time to move the 20 steps to the bathroom.
The day after I tried to very slowly walk out of the room. Very painful and only managed 5-10 mins of hunched over walking. Standing up straight was very painful.
Got discharged on day 4. Could walk better but slowly. No way could I have carried anything much.
Recovered over the next few days but the wound got infected (despite me trying to take great care over the dressing etc)
I would say after a week I felt a fair bit better but it took 2-3 weeks to really feel more like myself.
Didnt drive until 5/ 6 weeks
Just plan to take it slow and take the pain meds regularly. You might be one of the ones who spring out of bed two hours after theve been sewn up but you might not.

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Silverswirl · 23/05/2022 23:28

Meant to add, I had a vaginal birth before the section and was up and showering after 2 hours. Pretty much back to normal 48 hours later so the section was a lot longer.

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Thebeastofsleep · 24/05/2022 11:45

Silverswirl yes I had the leg pumpy things on. They were very annoying. I took them off as soon as I could move my legs though because it would do the same job.

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LowryLowry · 24/05/2022 12:22

I've had two ELCS.

I spent three nights in hospital with the first (baby in NICU - unrelated to CS) and two nights with second.

I'd say it was 2 weeks before I started feeling more mobile, but had to build up to it gradually.

I took paracetamol and ibuprofen religiously for around 3 weeks and felt very little pain due to that. The hardest thing was having to change positions in bed to feed the baby - that was sore.

Probably 2 weeks to pick stuff up

Can't remember about driving - think you're not supposed to for 6 weeks

Sex - second time, can't remember, it was a while, but not because if cs, more just general exhaustion! Fine when it did happen though, prob around 10-12 weeks. First time was around 8 weeks and that was painful - not around scar area but inside. Felt very clampy. Improved by 6 months and by 8 months back to normal.

Had a mild infection with first. Antibiotics didn't work but sudacrem did!

I found recovering the second time harder as I had a toddler and it was hard to cuddle her or lift her for around 2 weeks. DH basically had to do everything for around 4 weeks.

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