If You've Had a C-section

If you had a cesarean section to deliver your baby, you'll need help from your partner, family or friends. You'll likely be told not to carry or lift anything heavier than your baby and not to engage in strenuous physical activity for a few weeks until you heal. Talk with your healthcare provider about how long you should take it easy.

As with any surgery, a C-section comes with normal, temporary side effects and certain, more serious risks.

What's Normal?

While recovering from a C-section, you may notice:

  • Mild cramping
  • Bleeding or discharge for about 46 weeks (including bleeding with clots)
  • Incision pain

Signs of Serious Health Problems After Childbirth

In the days and weeks after childbirth (whether vaginal or by cesarean section), some mothers are at risk for serious, potentially life-threatening complications that require immediate medical care, including:

  • infection
  • blood clots
  • postpartum preeclampsia
  • postpartum hemorrhage

Know the signs of these conditions and when to seek medical help.

Tips for C-Section Recovery

Rest whenever you can. When your baby is napping, take advantage of that time to nap, as well.

Hold your abdomen near your incision for support during sudden movements, coughing, sneezing and even laughing,

Keep your necessities (and those for your baby) within reach so that you aren't straining to get to items you need.

A heating pad and over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are safe pain relievers to use if you are breastfeeding. But talk with your healthcare provider first about using these or other pain relievers.

See also ...

Other side effects following childbirth

Physical and emotional care after a C-section 

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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