A third of mums who gave birth by caesarean section suffered complications following the arrival of their newborn, according to research. Despite being a necessity for one in four mums every year, the research of 500 UK women, who gave birth by C-section, found 33 percent were prescribed antibiotics afterwards.
And 21 percent ended up with an infection, which delayed their recovery by more than 2.5 weeks – while more than one in 20 were readmitted to hospital, for an additional 3.5 days, on average.
The study, carried out by Essity, found having a C-section made the early days of motherhood more challenging than expected for many – with nine in ten admitting they would have struggled to cope without help from others.
And while the love was immediate for most, the average mum polled believed it took just over three weeks to completely bond with their little one.
This was largely due to how difficult it was to lift the baby comfortably (47 percent), or to leap up to tend to them as soon as they cried (43 percent).
Julie Cummings, of the hygiene and health company, which produces Leukomed Sorbact surgical wound dressings, said: “Having a newborn is a challenging time for all mums, regardless of how their little one came into the world.
“But it is standard for the recovery time to be longer for those who have had a caesarean section, simply by the very nature of the procedure, which is a major operation.
“What does need to be addressed is post-partum care, and solutions for those women who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of having wounds with complications or infections. With antimicrobial resistance a real issue now, we need to provide alternative approaches.”
Mother-of-three reflects on fears over C-section complications
Of all the mums polled, 64 percent were surprised at how much their movement was restricted after the birth – although this differed between those who had a C-section which was planned (58 percent), versus an emergency (66 percent).
More than half (54 percent) found their wound was incredibly sore, and 46 percent were shocked at how long it took for them to heal.
In addition to looking after the baby, seemingly simple activities felt very challenging for many – such as household chores (67 percent), getting out of bed (66 percent), and standing up from a chair (63 percent).
And feeding, cuddling, and changing the baby also proved difficult – as did pushing them in the buggy, for 28 percent.
Perhaps understandably, those who had a planned caesarean felt far more practically prepared (74 percent), than those who were rushed into the operating theatre (24 percent).
And knowing in advance that the baby would arrive via surgery was emotionally easier to prepare for, for those who knew it was coming (55 percent), versus those who didn’t (21 percent).
The study, carried out via OnePoll, found almost all mums polled (96 percent) had significant worries immediately after birth. Top fears included whether they would have to rely on others (58 percent), and how much they would hurt (54 percent).
Although less than one in ten (eight percent) worried about falling in love with their baby, and just 15 percent gave any thought to there being a difficulty to bond.
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However, despite navigating a naturally tricky time of recovery, a resounding 88 percent of mums said their experience weighed no bearing on their long-term relationship with their child.
Julie Cummings, for Essity, added: “NICE, which provide best-practice recommendations to the NHS, has issued a medical technology guidance that advises that Leukomed Sorbact dressings are used to prevent surgical site infections, specifically after caesarean section surgery.
“This technology can reduce the likelihood of infection, and therefore reduces our reliance on antibiotics.”
Mum-of-three Lucy Woodhouse, from Hereford, reported problems after the birth of her second child.
She said: “I was getting stabbing pains still in the scar, in just so much pain, and quickly identified I had a wound infection and ended up on antibiotics.
“You get scared of being poorly as a mum – you worry that you’ll get too ill, and you’ll have to go into hospital and leave them behind.”
After Lucy’s third child, she was treated with a Leukomed Sorbact dressing in hospital.
She said: “I didn’t give it a second thought, it appeared to be comfortable, and it was really reassuring – when the dressing came off I could see straight away it wasn’t red, it was a really neat, nearly invisible scar, no signs of infection. And I felt different, I felt well.”
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