Cesarean section recovery

Cesarean section recovery

cesarean section recovery

Recovering from a caesarean usually takes longer than recovering from a vaginal delivery.

The average stay in hospital after a caesarean is around 3 or 4 days, compared with an average of 1 or 2 days for a vaginal birth.

You may experience some discomfort in your tummy for the first few days. You'll be offered painkillers to help with this.

When you go home, you'll need to take things easy at first. You may need to avoid some activities, such as driving, until you have had your postnatal check-up with the doctor at 6 weeks.

The wound in your tummy will eventually form a scar. This may be obvious at first, but it should fade with time and will often be hidden in your pubic hair.

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Recovering in hospital

The average stay in hospital after a caesarean is around 3 or 4 days.

You may be able to go home sooner than this if both you and your baby are well.

While you are in hospital:

  • you'll be given painkillers to reduce any discomfort
  • you'll have regular close contact with your baby and can start breastfeeding
  • you'll be encouraged to get out of bed and move around as soon as possible
  • you can eat and drink as soon as you feel hungry or thirsty
  • a thin, flexible tube called a catheter will remain in your bladder for at least 12 hours
  • your wound will be covered with a dressing for at least 24 hours

When you're well enough to go home, you'll need to arrange for someone to give you a lift as you will not be able to drive for a few weeks.

How long does it take to recover after a c-section?

It may take about six weeks to recover from your caesarean section (c-section). If you had any problems during or after your c-section, or if you are looking after other children at home, you may feel you need more time to recover.

Gentle exercise, such as walking, will help you recover from your c-section. But avoid anything more active until you have no pain and you feel ready.  For example, avoid driving, carrying anything heavy, doing heavy housework, such as vacuuming, or having sex until you feel able to. You will need help with carrying your baby in their car seat and with lifting their pram. Check with your insurance company when you will be covered for driving after a c-section.

some tips for recovery after a caesarean birth


  1. Taking care of yourself

With a newborn baby in your life it can be easy to prioritise their needs above your own. Yet you also need to focus on yourself and get enough rest and support so your wound heals well.

Your body will need time to recover physically from a c-section operation and you’ll need to recover emotionally. It can take around six weeks to recover, sometimes longer if you had any complications or you’re busy looking after children at home.

Try to take it easy when you can and ask for help if you need it.

  1. Managing pain and bleeding

Most women will experience pain for a few days or weeks following a caesarean. In hospital you’ll be offered pain relief if you need it.

When you get home, you can continue to take suitable pain relief. You could take painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen if you need. It’s normal to experience vaginal bleeding after a caesarean birth. Use sanitary pads rather than tampons to help reduce the risk of infection.

If you’re concerned about the level of pain or bleeding, or symptoms are getting worse, talk to your midwife, health visitor or doctor as soon as you can.

  1. Caring for your wound

You will have a dressing put on your wound in hospital, which will remain on for at least 24 hours after the caesarean. Ask your midwife or health visitor for advice if you think the dressing needs to be changed or if you have any questions.

Once the dressing is removed, you’ll need to keep the wound clean and dry. A week or so after the operation it might start to itch, which is good news – the wound is starting to heal.

Eventually the wound will form a scar that will fade. Most women find their scar fades over time to a feint line barely visible and usually below their bikini line.

  1. Use your support network

Make sure you ask your friends and family for help. That way you can focus on resting and recovering from the c-section operation. You could ask them to help with shopping, housework or washing up. Or simply ask them to come over to hold your baby while you take a shower. Or ask them to make you a cup of tea.

If you don’t have a local support network then ask your health visitor what support is available locally for parents.

  1. Get moving

It’s important to get out of bed and get mobile after having a caesarean section to help prevent the risk of blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). You’ll be encouraged to get out of bed in hospital.

At first it might be painful or uncomfortable getting out of bed. You may find it easier to get out of bed by rolling on your side. You can then put your feet over the edge of the bed and push yourself up to sitting.

When you get home, it’s a good idea to get up and start going for gentle walks when you feel up to it. Over time, you’ll start to feel better.

  1. Make yourself comfortable

In the weeks following a caesarean you may find it more comfortable to wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Elasticated waists might rub on your wound. If so, you might prefer to wear loose dresses or trousers with high waists that sit above your wound.

Some women find it more comfortable to wear their pregnancy clothes for a few more weeks while their wound heals. When your wound heals, you’ll find it’s comfortable to start wearing tighter clothes again.

  1. Healthy eating

It’s a good idea to eat healthily while you recover from a caesarean. Having plenty of fruit and fibre will also help ensure you avoid any constipation.

You’ll really want to avoid constipation while you recover from a c-section because it can increase discomfort around the waistline near your wound or scar. A healthy balanced and fibre rich diet will help keep your digestion regular. It also makes sure you get all the required nutrients so your body can heal well.

  1. Follow caesarean recovery advice

Your midwife or health visitor should give you information about recovering from a caesarean. This will include practical information about how to clean your wound, when to return to your usual activities and when to seek medical advice.

It’s important that you don’t lift anything heavier than your baby in the first few weeks following a caesarean. This includes not lifting a pram up or down steps, not carrying your baby in a car seat and not carrying heavy shopping.

  1. Driving and exercising after a caesarean

Don’t rush to get back to driving or exercising if you don’t feel up to it. It can take six weeks or longer to feel like returning to these activities.

The same goes for having sex. Only get back to these activities when you feel ready to.

It’s worth checking with your insurance company if they have a policy on driving after a caesarean. You should make sure you’re insured and you should be confident you will be able to perform an emergency stop safely.

  1. 10. Know when to seek medical advice

Although rare, it’s important to know the signs of possible infection or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) following a c-section. Contact your midwife or doctor for medical advice if you develop: a cough or shortness of breath, pain or swelling in your lower leg.

Also contact your midwife or doctor if: you have heavy vaginal bleeding, your wound is becoming red and painful, you have a high temperature or feel really unwell.

You should contact your midwife, health visitor or GP if you have any symptoms you’re concerned about or that are worsening.

10 common questions about Cesarean section recovery

1When can I start walking after C section?
During the first six weeks after having your baby, you can gradually increase activity at a pace that suits you. You could start with a five-minute walk, and gradually extend this time when you feel able. Ask your midwife or health visitor if you're unsure about what's best to do.
2Can I get a flat belly after C section?
Some women might just need a few short weeks to recover from a c-section, while others will need a few months. Generally speaking, it's best to wait at least 6-8 weeks before you start to exercise or diet. As eager as you might be to lose the weight right away, this will only cause complications.
3How long does it take for a cesarean to heal internally?
Get plenty of rest A C-section is major surgery. Just like with any surgery, your body needs time to heal afterward. Expect to stay in the hospital for three to four days after your delivery (longer if there are complications), and give your body up to six weeks to fully heal.
4How long does it take for stitches to dissolve after C section?
How long will my stitches (sutures) take to dissolve? The time it takes for dissolvable or absorbable stitches to disappear can vary. Most types should start to dissolve or fall out within a week or two, although it may be a few weeks before they disappear completely. Some may last for several months.
5Can coughing hurt my C section incision?
Coughing and Sneezing Will Hurt Eskridge, who had two c-sections of her own, had the same experience— and has some useful advice: “Splinting (holding a pillow against the abdomen over the incision) is very helpful in preventing pain with coughs, sneezes and laughing.
6Why C section is bad?
Having a C-section also increases a woman's risk for more physical complaints following delivery, such as pain or infection at the site of the incision and longer-lasting soreness. Because a woman is undergoing surgery, a C-section involves an increased risk of blood loss and a greater risk of infection, Bryant said
7What are disadvantages of C section?
Possible c-section risks to you include: infection of your wound or the lining of the womb. bleeding that leads to a blood transfusion or having the womb removed – this is uncommon and may be more likely if you had problems with the placenta or bleeding during pregnancy. heart attack
8How many cesarean births are allowed?
The science behind the safety of multiples cesareans says that the more cesarean surgeries you have, the riskier the surgeries are for you and the baby. Risky enough that the National Institute of Health (NIH) said that you probably shouldn't choose a cesarean if you wanted more than two or three kids
9Does cesarean cause weight gain?
C-section causes increased body weight gain S2), in relation to vaginally delivered controls. Overall, mice gained 33% more weight at age 15 weeks if they were born by C-section, but females showed a stronger phenotypic effect, with 70% higher weight gain (Fig. 1), and with body masses similar to those of males (fig
10Does the C section pooch ever go away?
Definitely. But it's there. Hoskins notes that the bulge will diminish over time, but for most women, it will never completely go away. It's not what most moms, myself included, want to hear, but Hoskins suggests keeping things in perspective: “The reason you have this pooch is because of this beautiful child


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