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Cesarean Section

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

A cesarean delivery, or c-section, is abdominal surgery to deliver your baby. There are many reasons you may need a c-section.
  • A c-section may be scheduled before labor if you had a c-section with your last baby. It may be scheduled if your baby is not positioned normally, or you are pregnant with more than 1 baby.

  • Your caregiver may perform an emergency c-section during labor to prevent life-threatening complications for you or your baby. A c-section may be done if your cervix does not dilate after several hours of active labor.

  • Other reasons for a c-section include maternal infections and problems with the placenta.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your obstetrician if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your obstetrician (OB) if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your OB as directed:

You may need to return to have your stitches or staples removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

Carefully wash your wound with soap and water every day. Keep your wound clean and dry. Wear loose, comfortable clothes that do not rub against your wound. Ask your OB about bathing and showering.

Drink plenty of liquids:

You can lower your risk for a blood clot if you drink plenty of liquids. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Limit activity until you have fully recovered from surgery:

  • Ask when it is safe for you to drive, walk up stairs, lift heavy objects, and have sex.

  • Ask when it is okay to exercise, and what types of exercise to do. Start slowly and do more as you get stronger.

Contact your OB if:

  • You have a fever.

  • Your incision is swollen, red, or draining pus.

  • You have questions or concerns about yourself or your baby.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.

  • Your stitches come apart.

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.

  • You cough up blood.

  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

  • You have heavy vaginal bleeding (you soak a pad in 1 hour for 2 hours in a row).

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Cesarean Section (Discharge Care)

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