WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A cesarean section, or C-section, is when your baby is delivered through an incision in your abdomen.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Pain medicine: You may be given medicine to take away or decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
- Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider 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 primary healthcare provider or obstetrician as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Rest as much as possible after you have your baby. Try to nap when he is asleep. Support your incision with a pillow when you feed him. Use the pillow for support when you cough, sneeze, or laugh. Ask for help with household chores until you feel better.
Talk to your primary healthcare provider before you start to exercise. He will help find the best exercise plan for you. Start slowly and do more as you get stronger. Do not lift anything heavier than your baby until your primary healthcare provider says it is okay.
When you are allowed to bathe, carefully wash the incision with soap and water. If you have a bandage, change it any time it gets wet or dirty. You may have thin strips of medical tape on your incision. You can bathe with these medical strips. They will start to peel and fall off in about 2 weeks. Do not pull them off. A hard ridge may form along your incision. The ridge may slowly go down as it heals. It is normal for the area around your incision to be numb after surgery. Feeling should return to the area in about a year.
Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the ice pack with a towel and place it on your incision for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for 2 days.
Heat also helps decrease swelling and pain. Use a warm compress or heating pad. Dampen a washcloth or small towel with warm water and place in a plastic bag. Wrap a dry towel around the plastic bag to prevent burns. Place the warm compress or heating pad on your incision for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as long as you need it.
You will have vaginal discharge after delivery. The discharge is bright red the first 1 or 2 days after delivery, and then turns pink. The discharge becomes white or yellow by about day 10 after delivery. It is normal to have discharge on and off for 6 weeks after delivery. Use a sanitary pad rather than a tampon. This helps prevent a vaginal infection. The discharge should not have a bad smell.
You may start your monthly period 7 to 9 weeks after delivery. Your periods may be different than before you were pregnant. Mothers who breastfeed may start their periods even later. You may not get your period again until you stop breastfeeding. You can get pregnant while you are breastfeeding, even if you do not have a monthly period.
Do not have sex:
Do not have sex until your primary healthcare provider says it is okay. This is usually about 6 weeks after your C-section.
Mood changes are normal after delivery. Hormone changes, tiredness, and anxiety about being a parent can affect your mood. Talk to your primary healthcare provider if you feel depressed or are unable to care for yourself or your baby.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You feel depressed.
- Your incision is swollen, red, or has pus coming from it.
- You have bad-smelling discharge from your vagina.
- You have red streaks, swelling, pain, and warmth in one or both of your lower legs.
- You have questions or concerns about your C-section or how to care for your baby.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Blood soaks through the bandage on your incision.
- You soak 1 vaginal pad in 1 hour for 2 hours in a row.
- Your incision comes apart.
- You feel like harming yourself or your baby.
- You have sudden shortness of breath.
- You have severe abdominal pain.
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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)
Micromedex Care Notes: