Why should you lift nothing heavier than your baby after a c-section?

 Its easier said than done, I know, I’ll never forget the Dr telling me after my 6th C-section and to go home and to take it easy!  However, it was sage advice given the risk factors relating to over exertion during the healing phase.

Complications post caesarean birth include wound breakdown which is also known as surgical wound dehiscence (SWD) and sepsis caused by infection both of which can be life threatening. It is vital that women know how best to care for their wounds to help prevent these problems.

Thankfully I didn’t experience either of these issues but always kept a close eye on my wound for signs of infection, discharge or swelling with a hand held mirror. In addition I was careful to splint my wound area during any sudden movements such as coughing, sneezing and moving from the sitting to standing position.

In 2018, World Union of Wound Healing Societies (WUWHS) published a Consensus Document. Surgical wound dehiscence: improving prevention and outcomes, that reported the incidence of SWD after Caesarean birth was 1.9-7.6%. Mechanical stress is one of the three main causes of SWD.Mechanical stress on the internal sutures is caused by the raised intra abdominal pressure that occurs during sudden movements, therefore supporting the area can counter the effects. A clear call to action to provide adequate support for the wound during the healing phase. SWD can occur at any time after surgery, from one day to more than 20 days after surgery but generally occurs at post-operative days 4–14.

Some signs to watch out for, though it is important to note, SWD can occur without warning.

Any sign of inflammation beyond the time and extent expected for normal healing, e.g. more exaggerated redness, swelling, warmth and pain that extend beyond post-operative day 5. Warmth felt around the wound area or a collection of fluid under some or all of the area can signal impending separation. A sudden increase in pain or discharge from the wound can also be a warning sign. If any of theses signs appear seek medical review immediately.

Not only should you lift nothing heavier than your baby, your wound should be managed with scrupulous care to ensure a smooth healing process.

Reference

World Union of Wound Healing Societies (WUWHS) Consensus Document. Surgical wound dehiscence:improving prevention and outcomes. Wounds International, 2018