One in three mums have been prescribed antibiotics after encountering complications – from giving birth by caesarean section, research has found.
Each year, a quarter of expectant mothers are told it is necessary to deliver their babies via C-section – making the early days of motherhood even harder than expected.
The top worry for these women is having to rely on others for help during their recovery time (58%) – although nine in ten admit they would have found it difficult to cope without help from others.
Other concerns, for the 500 UK mums polled, who gave birth via C-section, included how much pain they would be in afterwards (54%), and not being able to quickly leap up to help the baby as soon as they started crying (43%).
To complicate matters further, one in five (21%) ended up with an infection after the surgical procedure, prolonging their recovery time by an extra 2.5 weeks. And more than one in 20 were readmitted to hospital, for a further 3.5 days, on average.
The study, carried out by Essity, also found that, while the love for their newborn was immediate for most new mothers, the average mum polled said it took just over three weeks to completely bond with their little one.
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.”
Of all the mums polled, 64% 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%), versus an emergency (66%).
More than half (54%) found their wound was incredibly sore, and 46% 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%), getting out of bed (66%), and standing up from a chair (63%).
And feeding, cuddling, and changing the baby also proved difficult – as did pushing them in the buggy, for 28%.
Perhaps understandably, those who had a planned caesarean felt far more practically prepared (74%), than those who were rushed into the operating theatre (24%).
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%), versus those who didn’t (21%).
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The study, carried out via OnePoll, found almost all mums polled (96%) had significant worries immediately after birth.
Almost one in ten (8%) even worried about falling in love with their baby, while 15% gave some thought to there being a difficulty to bond.
However, despite navigating a naturally tricky time of recovery, a resounding 88% 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.”
TOP 10 WORRIES FOLLOWING A C-SECTION:
- Needing to rely on others during their recovery
- How much it would hurt
- Not being able to get to their baby quickly if it was crying
- Not being able to care for their baby properly without help
- Not being able to stand for long periods of time
- Not healing properly
- Feeling helpless
- Inability to move around or lift their baby might affect their relationship with their newborn
- Not being able to change their baby when needed
- Not being able to feed their baby properly
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