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Discharge Instructions for Cesarean Section (C-Section)
You had a cesarean section, or C-section. During the C-section, your baby was delivered through an incision in your stomach and uterus. Full recovery after a C-section can take time. It’s important to take care of yourself — for your own sake and because your new baby needs you. Here are some guidelines to follow at home.
Here's how to take care of your incision:
Shower as needed. Pat your incision dry.
Watch your incision for signs of infection, like more redness or drainage.
Hold a pillow against the incision when you laugh or cough and when you get up from a lying or sitting position.
Remember, it can take as long as 6 weeks for your incision to heal.
Here are some suggestions:
Don’t try to take care of anyone other than your baby and yourself.
Remember, the more active you are, the more likely you are to have an increase in your bleeding.
Get lots of rest. Take naps in the afternoon.
Increase your activities bit by bit.
Plan your activities so that you don’t have to go up or down stairs more than needed.
Do postsurgical deep breathing and coughing exercises. Ask your healthcare provider for instructions.
Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby until your healthcare provider tells you it’s OK.
Don’t drive until your healthcare provider says it’s OK.
Don’t have sexual intercourse until after you’ve had a checkup with your healthcare provider and you have decided on a birth control method.
Allow others to do things for you. Don't hesitate to ask for help.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
When to call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
Redness, pain, or drainage at your incision site
Bleeding that requires a new sanitary pad every hour
Severe pain in the abdomen
Pain or urgency with urination
Foul odor from vaginal discharge
Trouble urinating or emptying your bladder
No bowel movement within 1 week after the birth of your baby
Swollen, red, painful area in the leg
Appearance of rash or hives
Sore, red, painful area on the breasts that may come with flu-like symptoms
Feelings of anxiety, panic, and/or depression
Online Medical Reviewer:
Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer:
Sacks, Daniel, MD, FACOG
Date Last Reviewed:
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