Ways dads can take good care of the mother before and after c-section


Woman with newborn baby

The period after a cesarean section is a trying and delicate time for a mother and baby, with statistics showing 36 in 100,000 of women who have C-sections births die due to complications, while the worlds’ child mortality runs high. But there are various ways dads can take good care of mother and child to prevent the risks and dangers involved.

Deaths after C-section are most often caused by infections (e.g. fascial dehiscence, wound, urinary tract), thromboembolic anesthetic complications, surgical injury (e.g., uterine lacerations; bladder, bowel, ureteral injuries), uterine atony, and delayed return of bowel function, according to Centre of Disease Control and National Vital Statistics System.

With this in mind, it is important to embrace practices that will ensure the health of both the baby and the mother. Fathers can prepare for this early, before the C-section procedure, getting the family ready to tackle breastfeeding, nursing the baby, taking care of the wound, and other after birth activities.

Before delivery, it is vital for the dad to show emotional and moral support for the mother by holding her hand and reassuring her that everything is going to be fine.

According to the America Pregnancy Association, the mother may experience overwhelming emotions before and after birth, which is a normal reaction. The association recommends that dad uses a calm and low voice while addressing her, as well as ensuring she is comfortable with warm clothes, blankets or something to drink.

After birth, it is also beneficial for the baby to have some emotional bond through skin-to-skin contact and the father is advised to step in and help with this since the mother might still be under anesthesia.

According to research by The Birthplace, newborn babies who had skin-to-skin with their fathers after being born were calmer, stopped crying and reached a drowsy state earlier than those who were placed in beds or cots.

“Even in cases when the mother is awake, early skin-to-skin contact between her and her newborn directly after a C-section might be limited for practical and medical safety reasons. In these cases, the dad may want to have skin-to-skin contact with the baby within two hours after birth,” found the research.

In taking care of the baby, dads are also encouraged to aid the mother in breastfeeding after a C-section to put the mum under less strain at a time when she is still recovering from the wound and the whole giving birth experience.

Mums who have had a C-section have a slight difficulty in breastfeeding, especially after birth, a factor attributed to the effect of anesthesia and the surgery itself. It is therefore helpful for the dad to remind the nurse of feeding time and help the mum in holding and nursing the baby.

This practice that should continue even after going home when the mother is required to rest and get involved in minimal activities. Mum definitely needs to avoid any strenuous chores, bending over, sitting for a long period, running, driving, or vacuuming.

However, mums who have undergone a C-section should start incorporating a few exercises as they continue the recovery process.

“Mums are advised to start by taking short walks and build up to 30 minutes after they have been home for a few days. Walking will increase circulation, which will reduce your risk of blood clots, help with bowel function and increase your body’s ability to heal. All processes in the body are sped up by exercise,” said Mary Beth Knight, a fitness expert in Cincinnati, Ohio, and author of “Strategies for the C-section Mom: A Complete Fitness, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Guide.

However, she adds that any movement that exerts pressure on the abdominal muscles, pushing them forward, like crunches, before the abdominal muscles and fascia are repaired, can lead to a hernia. Instead, she recommends exercises like planks that are easy and safe to do.

Knight adds that watching the diet is also very crucial for mums and recommends that caregivers and dads help mums in preparing meals that are friendly to their recovery.

“Nutrition is very important for healing. Mothers should focus on eating foods that are anti-inflammatory and have vitamin C, like berries, kale, and broccoli. Vitamin C supports the production of collagen, a protein that helps repair tissues. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like nuts and seeds are also anti-inflammatory.

“There are seven layers of tissue that are disturbed—cut or moved—during the C-section and your body needs to recover those and repair in order from the bottom to the top,” Knight says.

In aiding the healing process, dads need to understand the wound and what to do to hasten the recovery.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the wound must be kept clean by letting water through it and avoiding vigorous scrubbing and drying.

Applying ointment is also an important step that mums and caregivers need to take while taking care of the wound. Applying antibiotics or a petroleum jelly is good for the wound. However, it is important to incorporate your doctors’ advice in this.

Tight clothes should be avoided as airing promotes healing of skin injuries, therefore loose fitting clothes are the way to go.

In addition to this, dads should ensure they keep records of any scheduled doctors’ appointments for the check-up when needed. However, if any problem arises seeing a doctor soon can help identify and resolve a developing abnormality.

“Don’t compare your recovery to someone else’s because our recoveries vary as much as our genetics and comparisons will only frustrate those who take a bit longer to recover,” says Shawn Tassone, M.D., an Austin, Texas-based ob-gyn and author of the books Hands Off My Belly! and Spiritual Pregnancy. “Listen to your body, and if things hurt, slow down; if you feel tired, rest as much as you can. And it’s okay to take the pain medications prescribed to you by your provider.”

In case of redness or swelling of the incision or skin surrounding it, high fever, oozing or drainage from the wound, foul smell from the area, the wound becoming hard, increasing pain around the wound, pain or tenderness in a specific spot of the incision, or a split in the incision, medical attention is required immediately.

By applying these practices, dads can enable the quick healing of the mum and the healthy development of the baby.
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