Cesarean - going home
You are going home after a C-section. You should expect to need help caring for yourself and your newborn. Talk to your partner, parents, in-laws, or friends.
You may have bleeding from your vagina for up to 6 weeks. It will slowly become less red, then pink, and then will have more of a yellow or white color. Bleeding and discharge after delivery is called lochia.
At first, your cut (incision) will be raised slightly and pinker than the rest of your skin. It will likely appear somewhat puffy.
You will need a checkup with your health care provider in 4 to 6 weeks.
If you go home with a dressing (bandage), change the dressing over your cut once a day, or sooner if it gets dirty or wet.
If strips (Steri-Strips) were used to close your incision:
Getting up and walking around once you are home will help you heal faster and can help prevent blood clots.
You should be able to do most of your regular activities in 4 to 8 weeks. Before then:
Don't drive a car for at least 2 weeks. It is OK to ride in a car, but make sure you wear your seat belt. Don't drive if you are taking narcotic pain medicine or if you feel weak or unsafe driving.
Try eating smaller meals than normal and have healthy snacks in between. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and drink 8 cups (2 liters) of water a day to keep from getting constipated.
Any hemorrhoids you develop should slowly decrease in size. Some may go away. Methods that may help the symptoms include:
Sex can begin any time after 6 weeks. Also, be sure to talk with your provider about contraception after pregnancy. This decision should be made before you leave the hospital.
After C-sections that follow a difficult labor, some moms feel relieved. But others feel sad, disappointed, or even guilty about needing a C-section.
Contact your provider if you have vaginal bleeding that:
Also contact your provider if you have:
Postpartum preeclampsia, while rare, can occur after delivery, even if you did not have preeclampsia during your pregnancy. Call your provider right away if you:
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Task Force on Hypertension in Pregnancy. Hypertension in pregnancy. Report of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Task Force on Hypertension in Pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 2013;122(5):1122-1131. PMID: 24150027 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24150027/.
Beghella V, Mackeen AD, Jaunaiux ERM. Cesarean delivery. In: Landon MB, Galan HL, Jauniaux ERM, et al, eds. Gabbe's Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 24.
Isley MM Postpartum care and long-term health considerations. In: Landon MB, Galan HL, Jauniaux ERM, et al, eds. Gabbe's Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 24.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 11/21/2022
Reviewed By: LaQuita Martinez, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Alpharetta, GA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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