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Important Information to Know After Having a C-Section

A C-section is major abdominal surgery and requires 4-6 weeks to fully recover.

Your incision is repaired in layers. The top layer will be closed with either staples or stitches. If you have stitches they will dissolve on their own. If your incision is closed with staples, they will be removed. Some obstetricians remove all of the staples before you leave the hospital. Others remove half of the staples prior to your hospital discharge and the remaining staples are removed within the next week at the obstetrician’s office or your family doctor’s office.

You will need to rest and take it east while your incision heals. Accept help from family and friends with housework, preparing meals, running errands, and getting to and from appointments.

You should avoid lifting anything heavier than 10lbs until your incision has healed completely. This may mean having someone else carry your infant car seat for you, pick up and put away groceries and/or carry laundry for you. Remember to bend your knees when lifting anything.

Wear loose clothing to avoid pressure and rubbing on your incision. Take pain medication regularly as prescribed by your doctor. The incision may hurt at the corners of the scar. Sharp and/or burning sensations can occur for up to 6 weeks. However, if there is intense pain or oozing, you should seek medical advice.

Support your abdomen by using a pillow when breastfeeding.

Keep your bowels moving. In the first post-surgery days, chewing gum and moving around will help. Stool softeners or an occasional laxative may be necessary (Colace, Senekot, over the counter medications).

You should not exercise until after your 6 week postpartum checkup. Prior to that appointment you can do some light walking or daily activities around the house. You should not push a stroller or carry the car seat while walking while your incision is healing (at least 3 weeks).

Call your doctor if your incision becomes red, oozing, or bleeding or has a foul smell or if you develop a fever.

All women have a checkup with the doctor at 6 weeks after the baby is born. The obstetrician who completed your c-section may want to follow up with you at 6 weeks postpartum to check your incision.


Credit to Partners in Pregnancy Clinic Peterborough

BC Health 1995-2009

Sutter Health Hospitals Network. After a Cesarean Birth. Sacromento, California. (2008)

Women & Babies Program, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre A Practical Guide To

Preparing For Your Baby. (July, 2009)

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