Bhavani Shankar Kodali MD
Is there any pain after the operation?
Pain from a surgical incision on the abdomen can limit your ability to get out of bed and participate in the active care of your newborn. For this reason, postoperative pain control is necessary to maintain your comfort.
What is the approach to pain control?
Pain medication can be given by mouth, intravenously, or as part of the previously administered regional anesthetic. Since your stomach won’t be able to tolerate much, taking medications by mouth will not be feasible until several hours after the surgery.
Your anesthesiologist will ensure your comfort after surgery. The method of pain relief is based on the anesthetic that you received for the Cesarean delivery. If you had a regional anesthetic, pain medicine placed in the spinal or epidural area can last up to 18 hours after the surgery without feeling drowsy. If you had a general anesthetic, pain is usually controlled with self-administered intravenous pain medicine (patient-controlled analgesia). Pain control after the first day is usually managed with a pill taken by mouth.
Are there any side-effects?
The pain medicine is usually some form of narcotic drug. The side effects associated with narcotic administration are somnolence, itching, nausea, slower breathing, and constipation. These side effects are usually minimal and self-limited. If they are bothersome to any degree, there are medications to manage this. There is not any appreciable accumulation of these drugs in breast milk. You should not be concerned about becoming addicted to the narcotic drug. It is far more important to be comfortable enough to get up and out of bed after the surgery than to worry about any of the potential side effects.