One of my dad’s favourite prayer points, while I was pregnant was that I won’t fall ill after giving birth. He always said that prayer anytime, I saw him while pregnant amongst other things.
He wasn’t saying those prayers for any particular reasons. I know because he said it by rote. Anyways, I fell ill weeks after having my first babies and had to be hospitalised. That is exactly what happens, when an infection from a C-section wound rears its head.
Some weeks ago, I ran into the mom of an acquaintance in the hospital, who had given birth less than three weeks from today. I had ran into her mom, as she was running around to get the doctor to her and all that drama.
She had her baby via a c-section and a day after the naming ceremony, she had slumped, and both mothers-in-law, who had been present, baby and husband had found themselves back in the hospital, they had left less then 72 hours ago.
She was in a bad shape, so I couldn’t see her that day, besides I was no doctor and that was who she needed more at that time. I was told, when she came to, she vomited and was unable to keep anything down for days. She was just on drip.
Even though, today, she is a lot stronger, she is still in the hospital with her baby. It was when I saw her that I realised, it was an infection from her surgery wound, that was causing all the drama.
When she said, infection of the surgery wound, I must have looked doubtful of it, because she said, “Kemi, don’t look like that o, that is the only reason, I’m still here. It’s serious matter oh.”
That statement brought to mind, the experience of my friend Mary, who had given birth in June of this year, incidentally at the same clinic.
Days after she was discharged from the clinic, she was back again and hospitalised, from complaints of serious pain emanating from the site of the surgery wound. She spent close to another week in the hospital to treat that condition.
Now, I wonder, is it the clinic’s handling of c-sections that’s causing this infection or it’s the patient’s body or other factors? At least, I have seen two patients from that clinic, who have suffered infection from their C-section.
While I might be drawing at strays as this maternity clinic probably perform close to a hundred C-sections monthly, and only a few come back in with infection complaints.
Another mom, Laoye, who had all her four children via c-section, suffered an infection, when she had her second child. She had splits in the wound, about three weeks after giving birth. She was prescribed a course of antibiotics.
She however had a major problem, the wound wasn’t healing and it was now releasing foul smelling pus, which she put down to the fact that air wasn’t getting to the wound area. She is on the big side and even with the weight of pregnancy, she had a bit more going on down there.
In the end, she went off to the doctor, who had to clean the wound again, give her more instructions on how to keep the wound area neat. Since then, she found a way to air her wound and never had any such incidence again, which is a nice thing, considering she went through it two more times.
And some people think, c-section is having it easy. I hear you.
Infection of C-section wound is usually due to a bacterial infection in the surgical incision site. Common signs include fever (100.5ºF to 103ºF), wound sensitivity, and lower abdominal pain.
There are also factors that can disposes a woman to C-Section Wound Infection. These risk factors can include:
- Diabetes or an immunosuppressive disorder (like HIV)
- Chorioamnionitis (infection of the amniotic fluid and fetal membrane) during labour.
- Poor prenatal care (few visits)
- Previous C-sections
- Lack of cautionary antibiotics or pre-incision antimicrobial care
- A long labour or surgery
- Excessive blood loss during labour, delivery, or surgery
According to a 2012 study published in the South African Medical Journal, women who receive nylon sutures after a C-section are also more likely to develop an infection. Staple sutures can also be problematic. Sutures made from polyglycolide (PGA) are preferable because they are both absorbable and biodegradable.
If you have had a C-section, it’s important to monitor the appearance of your wound and follow your doctor’s postoperative instructions closely.
If unable to see the wound, have a loved one check the wound every other day to watch for warning signs of a wound infection. Having a C-section can also put you at risk for other problems, such as blood clots. So you just have to be generally conscious of your body and take things really easy.
If you haven’t had a C-section, here are some steps you can take:
Maintain a healthy weight. If you are not yet pregnant, exercise and follow a healthy diet to avoid pregnancy with an obese body mass index (BMI). And if you are having a plus size pregnancy, then you should try to make healthy choices.
Opt for a vaginal, spontaneous labour and delivery if possible. Women with vaginal deliveries are less likely to get postpartum infections. (This is the case even in women who have had a C-section, but vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) is dangerous in some cases. It can pose risks to the mother and baby.
Treat pre-existing conditions that cause your immune system to be compromised. If you have an infection or illness, try to have it treated before pregnancy or before your due date if it’s safe for you and the baby to do so.
You should also opt for the safest method of wound closure. Ask for pre-incision antibiotics and thorough wound care instructions from those treating you at the hospital. Also, ask to be checked for signs of infection before you go home from the hospital.
Sending some baby dust your way.
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