Caesarean Recovery After Forty
C-sections are much more likely, statistically speaking, in women over the age of 35, although many older moms are able to deliver healthy babies naturally. First time moms under the age of 35 have approximately a 12 percent chance of delivering a baby via C-section, while first-time moms over the age of 40 deliver by Caesarean section 43% of the time. This huge increase is generally due to the fact that older women are increasingly likely to experience other complications during their pregnancy which will result in delivery through a C-section.
Other Reasons for C-sections After Forty
Many times older women who are having a first baby have undergone infertility treatments and may be having multiple babies. The more babies the delivery team expects to deliver, the more likely your doctor will be to recommend a C-section delivery, both for your health, and the safety and health of your babies. Older women seem to have a higher incidence of breech births, which, due to the age of the mother, often prompt the doctor to deliver by C-section. Women over forty are more prone to high blood pressure, and more likely to develop gestational diabetes, meaning there is a higher risk of complications for mother and child. Women over forty also have a much higher risk of delivering a premature or low-birth weight baby, which could also prompt a physician to recommend a C-section.
Labor Considerations After Forty
One study in San Francisco of first-time mothers over the age of forty found that the older the mother, the more time they were likely to spend in labor because their cervixes were much slower to dilate, meaning it took considerably more time to try and push the baby out. Many doctors, expecting their older patient to experience a longer and more painful delivery simply because of the loss of flexibility in the cervix and uterus, recommend a C-section from the get-go.
Recovery from Your C-section
While recovery from a C-section after forty has many of the same elements as recovery from a C-section when you are younger, remember that as we age, our bodies tend not to "bounce back" as quickly as they once did-or as quickly as we would like them to. It's important not to push your body too hard, but take it easy on yourself during this time. You will probably have your catheter removed on the second day following your delivery, and if you are feeling well will be allowed to eat and drink, although some hospitals prefer to keep you on broth and gelatin while your body recovers. The nurses will probably begin encouraging you to get out of bed and take at least a few steps up and down the hall in order to regain your strength. The first steps will require a nurse at your side to ensure you don't feel dizzy or faint.
Pain Control Following Your C-section
You will probably be switched to oral medications on the second day-even if you typically do not take pain meds, this is not the time to be heroic. Keep ahead of your pain, by taking your recommended dosages a bit before the other has completely worn off. Once you get home with your baby, take it easy-this is not the time to decide to clean your entire house and run errands all in one day. All offers of help should be taken with gratitude. Don't try and do everything yourself, and don't lift anything heavier than your newborn. When you are exhausted, rest, to the fullest extent possible. When the baby sleeps you should also sleep. Keep in mind that you won't always feel like this, and that you must ease back into your daily routine, giving your body the chance it needs to heal.