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.