First Six Weeks after a caesarean section


Looking after yourself and getting to know your new baby

is the most important part after any birth.

Following a caesarean section

caring for your wound and avoiding strenuous activity

is also part of a healthy caesarean recovery.

Going home after caesarean birth

After your caesarean, you and your new arrival usually stay in hospital for about 5 days.

A caesarean section both planned/unplanned is a major surgery, so it’s important to focus on caring for your baby and giving your body the rest it needs to recover.

Recovery after caesarean and physical care

You have a lot to cope with when you’re looking after a new baby.

It can be harder when you’re recovering after caesarean. It will take a few weeks or longer to recover physically, particularly if you’ve had complications in your pregnancy or birth.

Bleeding Even though you’ve had a caesarean, you will still experience vaginal bleeding after birth. This is normal, as a result of where placenta was attached to your uterus.

Remember:

  • Pack maternity sanitary pads in your hospital bag & for when you come home.

  • Don’t use tampons in the first six weeks after birth.

The bleeding might be quite heavy in the first week, like a heavy period.

It might get a bit worse when you first get home and are more active and also when you’re breastfeeding.

You might see some small blood clots on your pad. If you’re soaking through a pad in one hour or seeing lots of blood clots of you are unsure that what you are experiencing is normal it is important to contact you obstetrician or health care provider.

My patients can contact our rooms on Ph: 5222 8858.

After the first week, your bleeding should gradually get lighter and change from red to dark-red to brown to yellowish-white. Most bleeding stops by around six weeks.

IMPORTANT: Check with your doctor if you notice the following symptoms:

  • bleeding gets heavier rather than lighter

  • you have a sudden heavy loss

  • large clots after the first few days

  • bleeding has a smelly odour

  • your uterus feels tender or sore.

Pain relief In the early days, it’s OK to take pain relievers regularly. Instructions & dosage information will be given to you during you stay in hospital.

Your may find that basic things like;

  • coughing

  • laughing

  • showering

  • getting out of bed can hurt in the first weeks after caesarean.

Caesarean wound care Your caesarean wound will usually be along or just below your bikini line. It will usually have dissolvable stitches.

It will be covered by a waterproof dressing for several days, and you can usually shower with this on.

Once the dressing has been removed, you can gently wash your wound with water and pat dry around it with a towel.

It’s best to leave it uncovered to ‘air dry’.

Things to remember:

  • careful if your wound is under a tummy fold because this will make it harder to keep dry.

  • Some bruising around the wound is normal.

  • Numbness or itching around the wound is normal too.

  • This can last a long time in some women.

  • Wear loose cotton clothing that doesn’t press on your wound.

It will usually take 6-10 weeks for your wound to heal completely.

For my patients your wound will generally be checked prior to discharge from Hospital and again at 3 then 6 weeks post partum.

IMPORTANT: If you notice any of the following Symptoms you should contact your Treating Obstetrician/ medical professional.

Signs of infection can include:

  • Pain

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • smelly discharge from the wound site

  • Oozing from the sight

  • Wound coming apart.

Help after caesarean

It’s OK to ask for help at any time,

Especially in these first six weeks after caesarean section this can be partner, family friends and they will appreciate you asking them rather than you causing any unnecessary strain or damage during your recovery.

Lifting, stretching and bending You’ll definitely need some help with any jobs that involve;

  • stretching upwards

  • lifting

  • bending because of the strain these activities put on your caesarean wound.

This means you be no trips to the washing line of vacuuming duties or any other strenuous household jobs delegate these task to someone else ( doctors orders)

It is very important NOT to lift any weight that’s heavier than your baby or anything that causes you pain i.e shopping bags, washing baskets other children. If your toddler is used to being picked up, there are other ways for the two of you to be close.

Driving It is usually recommended that you avoid driving a car until your caesarean wound has healed and if you need to you will be able to use the brakes suddenly without feeling sharp pain.

This is usually around the 5 to 6 week post partum. It is always best to talk with your doctor or midwife about when it’s safe to start driving again.

It is also important to check with car insurance company regarding you obligations / restrictions for cover following a major surgery. My patientS can contact the rooms on Ph: 5222 8858 to arrange a post surgical clearance to drive again

Exercise, food and sleep after caesarean

A gentle walk each day can help both your mind & your body. A good idea is to start out with a gentle five minutes walking around your home and gradually build up.

You might like to ask a physiotherapist in the physiotherapy classes at the hospital to give you some other good exercise ideas as

you start to recover.

Healthy eating and drinking can help you feel better too.

Foods that are high in fibre are good for avoiding constipation – these foods include cereals, fruits and vegetables.

Drinking water will also help and is especially important if you’re breastfeeding.

Getting as much rest and sleep as you can is another top tip. Try to rest or sleep when your baby sleeps, and don’t feel guilty if the housework isn’t done – you and your baby are more important.

Breastfeeding after caesarean

You can try different positions for breastfeeding to find what’s most comfortable for you.

Ask the midwives to show you different feeding positions during your stay in hospital.

Positions you might find useful for breastfeeding after caesarean birth ;

  • sitting with a pillow on your lap to support your baby and protect your wound

  • lying down on your side

  • holding baby underarm with baby’s feet towards your back – the ‘twin’ or ‘football’ position.

Six-week Post partum check up

For my patients you will be reviewed by a midwife in the comfort of your home at 3 weeks post partum.

Your baby will then require a six week follow up wit your local gp.

For your 6 week check my reception staff will arrange a six week follow up which will occur in my rooms and you will be given these details before you leave the hospital.

This appointment is a great opportunity to recheck you wound site and your overall recovery. It is also an opportunity to ask questions such as

  • Your birth options are if you have another baby

  • How long to leave time for your body to heal between births.

  • Discuss contraception and family planning.

Looking after a new baby is hard for all women, but it can be harder when you are recovering from a caesarean.

Be kind to yourself !!!

It may take a few weeks or even longer to recover, particularly if you have had complications

Top Tips for recovery in the first six weeks:

  • Get as much rest as you can.

  • Ask family or friends to help, or organise help if you can prior

  • family and friends can help is by preparing meals that can be frozen and heated up – this is more useful than giving flowers.

  • If you feel you need extra support at home, talk with the doctor or midwife, or maternal and child health nurse.

  • Do not lift any weight that is heavier than your baby. Be careful of your back when you lift and don’t lift anything that causes you pain.

  • Take a gentle walk every day. This can have physical and emotional health benefits.

  • Do your pelvic floor exercises. Regardless of the type of birth you have had, your lower abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles will have weakened after pregnancy, and need strengthening. Your hospital physiotherapist can teach you how to do pelvic floor exercises, or you can find out more from

  • Eat a healthy, high-fibre diet and drink plenty of water. Do this every day to avoid constipation.

  • Use warmth on your wound. Warmth can have a soothing effect. Try a wheat bag or hot water bottle.

  • Keep your wound clean and dry. Look for signs of infection (such as redness, pain, swelling of the wound or bad-smelling discharge). Report these to your doctor or midwife.

  • While some women like loose clothing, many prefer firm, high-waisted compression underwear or control briefs to offer abdominal support. This can reduce pain and be worn for comfort for the first six weeks.

  • Avoid sex until you feel comfortable. It is quite normal to for it to take weeks, even months, before you are ready to have sex.

  • Numbness or itching around the scar is normal. This can last a long time for some women.

  • Join a new mothers’ group. Talking with other mums who have had a similar experience to you can be very helpful.

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(03) 5222 8858

(03) 5221 8372

GRANADA MEDICAL CENTRE , LEVEL 2

88 MYERS STREET GEELONG VIC 3220 

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