Healthsheet

Discharge Instructions for Cesarean Section (C-Section)

Discharge Instructions for Cesarean Section (C-Section)

You had a cesarean section, or C-section. During the C-section, your baby was delivered through a surgical 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.

Incision care

Here's how to take care of your incision:

  • Shower as needed. Pat your incision dry.
  • Watch your incision for signs of infection, like increasing 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 a C-section incision to heal.

Activity

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 gradually.
  • Plan your activities so that you don't have to go up or down stairs more than necessary.
  • 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 follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider and you have decided on a birth control method.

Follow-up

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 the following:

  • 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 be accompanied by flu-like symptoms
  • Feelings of anxiety, panic, and/or depression