OBGYN, Pregnancy and Childbirth Care
Recovery After Cesarean Section
After the extraordinary experience of giving birth, your focus turns to your beautiful new baby. When it's time to head home, it's important you take care of yourself, as well as your bundle of joy.
Here are some tips for a healthy recovery after your cesarean section.
Before your due date arrives, follow our handy guide on how to prepare for your hospital stay. We'll tell you what to plan for, what to bring and what you need to know in advance.
Take good care of yourself.
After a c-section, many layers of incisions must heal at the same time. Follow these guidelines to make your recovery as safe, swift and comfortable as possible.
- Your pain should decrease each day and can be reduced with pain medicine as prescribed by your doctor
- Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first four to six weeks
- The outer stitches or staples on the skin may be removed before you go home from the hospital, and SteriStrips may be placed over the incision for one week
- To shower, remove the SteriStrips, gently wash the incision and pat it dry, then replace the SteriStrips
- Check your incision daily to ensure it is healing and that the edges of the incision are touching
- Ask your health care provider when it is OK to bathe or swim
- Schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor once you get home from the hospital, usually between one and six weeks after delivery
Let friends and family help.
So you can focus on yourself and baby, now is the time to accept help from those who care about you. These quick tips on how to care for mom and baby will give your loved ones ideas on how they can pitch in.
When to call your doctor.
Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Difficulty adjusting, including "baby blues," that lasts more than two weeks
- Excessive crying, anxiety, sleeping and/or eating difficulties or scary thoughts
- Drainage or fluid from the incision, including bleeding, pus or foul-smelling discharge
- Redness, excessive warmth or swelling at the incision area
- Increased tenderness or soreness at the incision
- Incision edges are no longer together
- Frequent urination, difficulty urinating or burning sensations
- Severe diarrhea or lack of bowel movements for three consecutive days
- Nipple soreness that lasts more than the first minutes of feeding, or breast soreness for more than the first one to two weeks after birth
- Tenderness, redness or hardened areas in your breasts other than during engorgement
- Cracked or bleeding nipples
- Temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
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