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Although a natural birth is always the preferred way to deliver your child, a caesarean delivery may make itself necessary given the presence of certain medical conditions or complications. In this, a small cut is made in the woman’s abdomen that allows the uterus to be opened up and the baby to be delivered. The entire process of caesarean delivery takes around 45 minutes to an hour, although the baby’s delivery is usually completed within the first 20 minutes of the surgery. Prior to the surgery, an anaesthetic is given to the woman via an epidural or by injecting the spinal cord. This regional anaesthesia plays an important role in numbing the lower portion of the body, allowing doctors to conduct the procedure. This is the very reason why many women do tend to experience a spinal headache after a C section.
What Causes Headache after Cesarean Delivery
The injection of the anaesthetic in the lower region of the back might cause some pain in that area, but there is a splitting pain that accompanies in the head as well as the neck later on. This is the direct result of the anaesthesia that was administered for the procedure. Not all the women experience it, but at least one percent of women opting for caesarean delivery, do. Since the epidural has to be given in the spine, the needle of the injection pretty much ends up puncturing a lot of layers that cover the area. In this procedure, there is a good chance the injection goes deeper than needed and punctures the layer that covers the spinal cord. This leads to the spinal fluid that resides inside it, to leak out and fill the empty areas around the cord. The interaction of this fluid with all the other portions is what causes the headaches to be so strong.
Symptoms of Headache After C-Section Surgery
Identifying these headaches is not difficult for a pregnant woman since they make themselves easily felt when they begin. These are not immediately observed after the caesarean delivery but take a while to begin. It starts slowly with a mild pain which gradually escalates to a pounding inside the head, with severe pain. When a mother who is experiencing such a headache tends to stand up or sit up, the pain worsens making it difficult to nurse her child properly or walk around. The side effects of these could also result in a vomiting sensation or stomach problems. If this tends to get worse, it could indicate a massive puncture in the cord which could cause even more problems later on. Bring this to your doctor’s notice immediately.
Treatment for Post C-Section Headache
Lying down on the bed seems to bring a big difference in the severity of the pain as most women have mentioned a reduction in headaches when they lie down. Rest, time and some medication might be required to get relief from it. No general painkillers or headache medication should be self-administered without receiving a prior approval from your doctor since the body is just recovering from the delivery and you would be nursing your child soon as well. At times, if the puncture is severe, doctors opt for using a technique called a blood patch to seal off the wound. It entails taking some of your own blood and reinjecting it into the region where the anaesthetic was given originally. This might seem counterproductive but the supply of blood ends up coagulating in the area where the spinal cord is punctured, thus stopping the leaking of the fluid. Women have experienced relief very soon as a result of it.
A severe headache after C section is a problem that plagues some women when they undergo a caesarean delivery. Although it can be quite discomforting, it usually lasts for no more than a week and can be treated with simple rest as well. Giving your newborn the time and attention he needs can help you get your mind off the pain as well.