Caesarean delivery recovery


Caesarean delivery recovery

Delivery via a c-section is a major surgical procedure, which means your recovery will be longer and more complicated than that of a vaginal birth.

You should expect to stay in the hospital for three to five days, depending on your condition following your delivery. Once you return home, your recovery will take approximately six weeks.

During this time, you will likely need a lot of help and support from your partner, family and friends. This is normal, and it will make your recovery process easier. It’s very important to take care of yourself and keep a close eye on your incision to ensure it’s healing properly.

General dos and don’ts following your c-section

As the recovery after a c-section is more complex, you should make sure you follow all of your doctor’s orders.

You should also:

  • get regular rest
  • wear loose fitting clothing, and avoid for underwear that will agitate your wound
  • walk short distances; however be mindful of sitting or standing for too long
  • support your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor when moving about
  • eat a healthy diet and drink two to three litres of water per day
  • wait at least six weeks before trying to take on any heavy lifting or strenuous activity
  • check with your doctor on suitable pain medications, particularly if you’re breastfeeding

During your recovery, you should avoid:

  • lifting anything that is heavier than your baby or a two litre bottle of milk
  • high reaching and pushing or pulling heavy items
  • straining when using the toilet, particularly when emptying your bowels
  • driving a car in the first six weeks -- check with your doctor.

Incision care

When you first leave the hospital, your wound will likely be covered with waterproof bandages. This will allow you to shower as normal. Once your bandages come off, you should be able to gently wash around your incision with water. It’s best to let it air dry.

If your incision was closed with staples, they will need to be taken out around day seven. If your doctor used stitches, these will begin to dissolve around the same time.

When to see your doctor

If at any time during your recovery you feel like something isn’t right, you should report it to your doctor or midwife. Remember that we are here to support you through your recovery. Our top priority is to ensure you and your baby are making healthy progress.

While you are recovering, there are a few things to look out for. If you see any of the following, contact your doctor:

  • redness, pain or swelling around your wound
  • offensive or unusual discharge from your wound
  • heavy vaginal bleeding, or bleeding that lasts longer than eight weeks after your delivery.