C-section surgery is an intensive way to give birth and requires additional time and care afterward to heal its incisions properly.
Women often ask when it is safe for them to drive after having had a cesarean section, and there are certain guidelines which will ensure a safe return to driving after giving birth.
You’re still recovering
C-sections can be an efficient and safe method of giving birth, yet can present additional postpartum challenges. If you plan to have one performed, it is crucial that you prepare yourself for recovery period by knowing what to expect afterward.
Once released from hospital, it can take six weeks or more for your body to heal completely. Rest is key and an OB-GYN can provide advice for creating an efficient plan that ensures a swift recovery process.
If you notice any symptoms of infection such as swelling, redness or pain, call your physician immediately so antibiotics can help combat infection and treat any existing issues.
Your hospital visit post-delivery typically includes an OB-GYN check on your incision site and whether certain activities are within the approved range.
Though recovery varies for every woman, most postpartum checks will typically assess your symptoms for pain, swelling and any signs of infection.
Your doctor will prescribe medication tailored specifically to you and your breastfeeding plans to manage postpartum discomfort. These drugs will be selected based on personal preference.
Once your obstetrician has given the all clear, you will likely be released from hospital. Hospital staff may set some goals for your stay at the facility such as passing a bowel movement and walking well (walking speeds up recovery).
Within the first week or so after surgery, walking around can help keep you active. Just don’t overexert yourself in an attempt to become mobile quickly as that could lead to injury.
As your C-section recovery progresses, you may notice that its effects are lessening and your bleeding has subsided. Furthermore, you’ll experience less pain and increased energy.
At this stage, your OB-GYN may suggest some physical activity to you such as gentle yoga classes or treadmill walking. When the time is right for you, shower as needed and begin engaging in sexual activities again with their doctor’s blessing.
As you recover from a cesarean section, it’s essential to remain open-minded and accept help whenever it becomes available – from night nurses and doulas to postpartum counselors and more if necessary. When seeking assistance following surgery, don’t be shy if someone offers their assistance – someone should always be willing to lend a helping hand!
You’re taking pain medication
C-sections are performed when it is no longer possible for women to give birth naturally, or when either her health or that of their unborn baby are at risk. A cesarean section involves opening both the uterus and birth canal so that a cesarean section can take place safely and surgically.
After surgery, you will likely require hospitalization for several days in order to heal properly and feel comfortable during recovery. Your physician may suggest taking painkillers as necessary; your health care team will also ensure your incision has healed properly.
As part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s also essential to drink lots of fluids and exercise regularly – both will help prevent constipation and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Many women experience discomfort after having undergone a cesarean section, yet there are ways you can ease the discomfort. Contact your midwife or GP about medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen that will provide some relief from pain.
Some women can benefit from receiving an intravenous (IV) infusion of morphine as part of their care, though this should only be used when there is severe pain that cannot be managed using other means and should never exceed 24hrs at any given time.
Ask your GP or midwife for painkillers in tablet or gel form, such as codeine or co-codamol, that can be taken during your c-section; these medicines shouldn’t harm the baby when taken as prescribed.
Recent research indicates that offering women the option of choosing how much pain medication they want after having undergone cesarean section can significantly improve pain management. They can choose whether they would like low, medium, or high dosages of pain meds.
Researchers discovered that women given the choice of which pain meds they wanted after their cesarean section were happier with the experience and more in control of their pain management, something increasingly difficult for women in light of the opioid epidemic.
You’re not ready
After having had a C-section, your mobility may be greatly restricted – limiting you when picking up your baby from preschool or driving to Target.
Dr. Cheruba Prabakar of OBGYN Associates suggests there are steps you can take to facilitate recovery and reduce post-c-section discomfort, including refraining from driving until your incision site has healed completely and you have stopped taking sedating medications, among others.
Driving can be especially difficult for women who have recently undergone C-section, as their leg and foot may experience pain when shifting from accelerator to brake pedals – which could delay your journey and increase the chance of an accident. Furthermore, most women relying on pain relievers like narcotics after giving birth may use them improperly on the road and therefore have impaired judgment when making driving decisions.
Before driving too soon after your surgery, it is also possible to develop an infection. Therefore, it is wise to consult your physician regarding driving after having had a cesarean section before embarking on this path.
Your GP will advise when and how soon it’s safe for you to drive following a cesarean section, however this process could take several weeks before feeling confident to drive safely again.
As a rule of thumb, it’s advisable to wait six weeks after having surgery before driving again, as your incision could take up to one month to heal fully.
Your wait time may increase if your c-section was more complex or you experienced complications during or after it. These could include issues with the cervix, labor not progressing normally or an abnormal positioning (breech or transverse).
After having undergone a cesarean section, there may be numerous reasons to postpone driving, including contracting an infection or taking large doses of sedating medications.
Women who have just had a cesarean section may be anxious to return to work immediately following birth, but it’s essential that they keep these considerations in mind as a new baby can be an enormous source of responsibility.
After having undergone a cesarean section, you will require assistance with household and baby chores in the immediate aftermath. Seek support from family and friends when needed – the sooner someone steps in will be better!
You’re not insured
As a busy mom, you are probably used to being on the move all of the time. Unfortunately, after having had a cesarean section your mobility can become severely limited making it hard to move around freely – leaving you wondering when driving again will become possible again.
After having had a cesarean section, if you feel well enough and have received permission from your physician to drive again. This may take up to six weeks following your c-section.
After having undergone a cesarean section, your body must recuperate from surgery before engaging in heavy lifting activities, including getting into or out of your car. Doing so too soon could result in abdominal muscles ache that makes driving unsafe. Therefore it’s advised that heavy lifting such as getting in or out of a car be postponed until at least two or three weeks have passed since your operation.
Undergoing a cesarean section puts you at greater risk of bleeding and infection, both of which could result in severe complications requiring blood transfusions to replenish lost reserves.
Insurance providers are concerned that an increase in C-sections is costing them money and have asked hospitals to reduce the number of deliveries.
Many insurers provide bonuses to hospitals that reduce C-section rates; Aetna for example offers bonuses totaling an extra $20 million annually to hospitals that perform fewer C-sections.
As this procedure can be dangerous for both mother and baby, including bleeding, infections and even potential death risks, these procedures should only be undertaken with great caution.
After having undergone a cesarean section, it’s advisable to see your GP six to eight weeks postoperatively to ensure you’re recovering successfully and receive advice about recovery as well as emotional support. Your GP can offer advice about recovery as well as assist with emotional matters that may arise post-surgery.
As with any medical condition, it’s essential to inform your GP of any symptoms such as swelling or issues with bowels that arise. Your GP may prescribe medications for these issues.
Preparing for your cesarean section includes getting health insurance covered beforehand so you can know exactly what will happen if anything goes wrong. If you don’t already have coverage, sign up through either the government-run insurance marketplace or directly with an insurer.