In the busy, challenging days after childbirth, it is critical that a mother is able to heal and recover as quickly as possible in order to care for her new baby.
About 32 percent of all babies born in the U.S. are born via Caesarean section ("C-section"). Most women who undergo C-section deliveries are not at risk for developing a surgical site infection after their delivery. For others though, this simply isn't the case.
Conditions including diabetes, obesity, or a history of smoking put women at a greater risk for complications at the site of their incision, with as many as 10 to 19 percent of these women suffering from post-operative infections . Signs your C-section incision may be infected include redness, swelling, or leaking discharge around the incision; a fever higher than 100.4 degrees; and increasing pain around the site of incision .
These infections often require additional hospitalization (up to 7-10 days), lead to hospital readmissions, additional costs, and most importantly, take precious time away from a mother bonding with her baby, due to the inability to breastfeed under antibiotic therapy or the possibility of extensive medical and surgical intervention .
A known treatment traditionally used for wound care called Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) has been shown to help reduce these complications in the surgical site, but because of the expensive cost and the size of the devices makes this effective treatment difficult to access after a C-section. However, the development of smaller and battery powered NPWT devices is an encouraging innovation in wound care that would help more people to benefit from this technology. The device, which doesn't need a canister and is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, also utilizes a sophisticated dressing technology which hold the edges of the wound together, remove any secretions, increase blood flow when placed over the incision, and even reduce scarring. It is applied right after the surgery to protect and promote a fast closure of the incisional wound, while allowing the mother to carry on with her new maternity. As with all medical decisions and treatments, consult your health care provider to find out if this therapy is right for you.
The Society for Women's Health Research is committed to the health of women and their babies. Learn more about pregnancy and maternal health here.
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