Post-Operative Instructions for Cesarean Section
General Activity – You may gradually increase your activities as your strength and comfort permit. The first week you return home, you should rest and care for only yourself and your newborn. Avoid heavy chores, lifting greater than 25 pounds, straining or prolonged standing. Walking, however, will help prevent many post-operative complications and assist in healing. You may walk up and down stairs if necessary, but go slowly and hold the handrail for support. Avoid intercourse until cleared by your physician at your follow-up visit.
Bathing – You may shower and wash your hair. Avoid tub baths. Keep the incisions clean and dry.
Diet – Eat a well-balanced diet. Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid constipation.
Driving a Car – Short car rides are permissible, but avoid long car-trips until cleared by your physician at your follow-up appointment. Do not drive until after you have stopped taking narcotic pain medications and you are able to twist your body quickly to look over your shoulder and to step on the brakes without hesitation. This usually requires at least 2 weeks.
Care of the Incision – Abdominal incisions heal gradually. Gently cleanse the incision with soap and water in the shower. Pat the incision dry with a clean towel. Do not rub. No dressing is necessary, but you may choose to keep a loose dressing over the wound to avoid staining your clothing with secretions during the healing process. If steri-strips remain on an abdominal incision after one week, you may remove them. If redness or drainage develop in the incision, use warm, wet compresses to promote healing several times a day for 20 – 30 minutes. Expect vaginal discharge and spotting for up to 4 weeks. You may wear a feminine pad, but avoid tampons, douching and other intra-vaginal products until cleared by your physician at your follow-up visit.
Medications – Mild over-the-counter pain medications (like motrin and naproxen) and stool softeners/ laxatives may be used as necessary unless otherwise instructed. You may also be prescribed a mild narcotic to use for breakthrough pain in combination with ibuprofen or naproxen. Resume all other home medications on ischarge. Follow your physicians’ advice regarding medication precautions while breastfeeding.
Returning to Work – Most patients recover sufficiently to return to work and resume all normal activities in 6 weeks, but complete recuperation may take 8-12 weeks.
Follow-up Appointment – Your first post-operative appointment should be 1-2 weeks after surgery. Call for an appointment if not already scheduled. You will be seen for your final post-partum appointment 6 weeks after delivery.
Problems or Questions – Do not hesitate to call if you have any problems or questions. If your surgeon is not available, one of the other physicians will help you. Promptly report any of the following problems: fever (temperature >100.5 degrees), problems with the incision, heavy bleeding, severe pain or nausea, or any other unusual problems you may be experiencing.