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Barts Health
Barts Health - NHS Trust has very kindly allowed Essential Parent to use its wonderful "Going home - our guide to postnatal care" leaflet to provide the information for many of our articles, including this one.
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Postnatal care 1 - Looking after Mum

Following a C section

As a caesarean is an abdominal operation, you will be more tired, so do not expect too much too soon. There are several layers of stitches in your lower abdomen that will take time to heal so increase your activities gradually over the first few weeks.
In Short

Here are a few key points to help your recovery:

  • Take regular pain relief for as long as you require it
  • In the early days if you need to cough, sneeze or laugh, lean forwards, supporting your wound –use your hands, a pillow or a small towel
  • Before discharge, check with your midwife if your stitches are dissolvable or need removal. Your midwife can clarify what day the stitches require removal if applicable
  • Keep your skin generally clean and wash regularly, especially in your groin area
  • Always wash your hands before touching your wound or dressing
  • Your dressing can be removed from 24 hours after the operation and your midwife will often do this and check your wound
  • If the dressing has not already been removed, you should remove the dressing on the second day after delivery
  • Have a bath or shower daily, ensuring that the wound is washed and pat it dry afterwards
  • Occasionally the end of the absorbable stitch (which can look like nylon fishing line) may poke through the skin where the knot is tied. Please do not pull this. It will fall off naturally. If it is catching on your clothing, ask your midwife or GP to trim it for you. If you have removable stitches these will be gently removed on day five
  • If your wound becomes hot or swollen or there is a smelly discharge, please inform your midwife or GP
  • When you return home from hospital, accept all the help that is offered
  • Try to avoid any activity that causes strain for the first six weeks, for instance, prolonged standing or carrying heavy shopping
  • Try not to lift anything heavier than your baby for at least six weeks. If you have a toddler, encourage him or her to climb up to you while you are sitting down rather than bending forward to pick your child up.
  • Before driving again: Check with your insurance company that you are covered: this will normally be four to six weeks after caesarean delivery and some companies require your GP to certify you are fit to drive. This is because you have to be able to perform an emergency stop safely and without discomfort.
  • If you have had a delivery by caesarean section, it does not necessarily mean you will have to have a caesarean again in the future. You can discuss future pregnancy options with your obstetrician or midwife in the hospital or community, or with your GP.

This article is one of many postnatal articles which Barts Health NHS Trust generously allowed Essential Parent to use. These articles come from the excellent Barts “Guide to Postnatal Care at Home”.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.