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Going home after a C-section

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.

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What to Expect at Home

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.

Incision Care

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:

Activity

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.

Other Self-care

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.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if you have vaginal bleeding that:

Also call 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:

References

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.

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Review Date: 10/5/2020  

Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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