Is Recovery from a C-Section Longer Than Recovery from a Natural Birth?

C-Section Recovery

Did you know about 30% of babies enter the world via caesarian section? These days, you can even decide beforehand whether you’d like your baby to be born naturally, via a vaginal birth, or by C-section. However, your doctor may recommend a C-section if you’ve had a complicated vaginal delivery in the past or if you have medical problems that make a vaginal delivery risky. Each form of delivery has advantages and disadvantages, including differing recovery periods. Which is right for you? Here are some things you should know to make a more informed decision.


Pros and Cons of C-section vs Natural Birth


As you know, a natural birth is when a baby comes out organically through the vaginal canal. One drawback of a natural birth is you don’t have the option of a scheduled delivery, as you do with a C-section. You can estimate your delivery time but, chances are, you won’t pick the precise date. As a result, a natural delivery leaves you with a certain degree of uncertainty. This makes preparation and planning difficult. With a C-section, the date is pre-planned, so you know when to be ready. If you’re the type that dislikes uncertainty, you may like the idea of a planned delivery via C-section rather than leaving things to chance.


On the other hand, when you undergo a C-section, you’re not an active participant in the birth of your child. You’re in the hands of your obstetrician and staff and not really aware of what’s going on. Plus, a C-section, although safe, is a surgery and all surgeries carry potential risks, including bleeding, infection, reactions to the anesthesia, and scarring. If you don’t like the idea of surgery and subscribe to the most natural way of doing things, a natural birth may suit you better.


Recovery C-Section vs Natural Birth


A major difference between a C-section and giving birth naturally is the recovery period. Because a C-section is major surgery, the recovery period will be longer than if you give birth naturally. When you give birth naturally, you typically leave the hospital after 24 to 48 hours. You also get the satisfaction of holding your baby and breastfeeding immediately after birth.


After a C-section, you generally spend 3 to 5 days in the hospital after delivery and healing at the site of the surgery may take weeks or even a few months to completely mend. Right after surgery, you’ll need pain medications and even after you return home, you’ll have limitations on your activities. For example, you won’t be able to drive for 2 weeks or exercise for at least a month.


Sometimes a C-Section is the Only Option


In some cases, your obstetrician may recommend a C-section for medical reasons. Some instances where a Caesarian section is safer is if you’re giving birth to a large baby or twins or if your baby is situated in such a way that a natural delivery would be risky. An example is when a baby is in a breech position and efforts to turn them around is unsuccessful. Your doctor may also recommend a C-section if you have certain medical problems or anatomical problems that make a natural delivery harder or riskier. If you choose an elective C-section, you’ll most likely need to get a C-section for subsequent births as well, something to keep in mind.


The Bottom Line


Now that you know the difference in recovery times as well as the other pros and cons of C-section vs natural delivery, talk the options over with your doctor.


References: “Cesarean Delivery”

WebMD. “The Truth About C-Sections”