C-Section Recovery 101

If you welcomed your new baby via cesarean section, your recovery will be very different than if you had your baby vaginally. The Hatch Blog breaks down your post-op healing.

Mom cuddling newborn baby

Your hospital stay may be extended

A c-section is a major abdominal surgery that requires you to have an IV as well as a urinary catheter for about 12 hours post-operation. In my case, my doctor would not release me from the hospital until I was able to get up and walk several steps on my own and go potty all by myself. Never get out of bed without nurses on hand to help you. The length of your stay may be between two and four days.

You'll have post-op side effects

Nausea and feeling itchy are a few side effects of having a c-section in addition to pain (not to mention swelling and puffiness) at the site of the incision. However, if your anesthesiologist leaves your epidural in after surgery, pain can be drastically alleviated. If you had a spinal or your epidural has been removed and you're feeling extreme pain, let the nurses know right away.

Your abdomen may feel strained

When you sneeze, cough or go potty, you may feel like your incision to going to tear. It likely will not, but you can place your hand or a soft pillow over the incision for support when you need to strain.

It's okay to breastfeed

Having a c-section does not affect your ability to breastfeed, and you can begin nursing your baby immediately after delivery. Just take care to lay on your side or use a football hold when nursing baby so that he does not put pressure on your incision.

Your recovery continues at home

Once you're discharged from the hospital, your recovery will continue at home. Your doctor will advise you not to lift up anything heavier than your new baby. He may prescribe a pain killer as well as stool softener to alleviate constipation. Drinking lots of water helps with this, also. Aside from walking in short spurts, do not attempt much physical activity until your doctor okays it.

More on c-sections

Cesarean recovery: What nobody tells you
Skin-to-skin during your cesarean
Resuming sex after cesarean


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