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After a Cesarean

It can take time to recover fully after a cesarean. It’s important to take care of yourself—both for your own sake and because your new baby needs you.

Incision care

Tips for taking care of your incision include:

  • You will probably be able to shower and pat the incision dry.

  • Watch your incision for signs of infection. These include redness that gets worse or fluid draining from it.

  • Hold a pillow against the incision when you get up from a lying or sitting position. Also do this when you laugh or cough.

  • Avoid heavy lifting. Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby until your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have:

  • A fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

  • Redness, pain, or discharge at the incision site that gets worse

  • Vaginal bleeding that soaks through a pad per hour or large blood clots

  • Severe pain in your stomach

  • No bowel movement within 1 week after the birth of your baby

  • Vaginal discharge that has a foul odor

  • Swollen, red, and painful area in the leg

  • Burning when urinating or blood in the urine

  • A rash or hives

  • Sore, red, painful area on the breasts (may also have flu-like symptoms)

  • Feelings of anxiety, panic, and depression, or difficulty bonding with your baby

Online Medical Reviewer: Burd, Irina, MD, PhD
Online Medical Reviewer: Goode, Paula, RN, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2017
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