Discharge Instructions for Cesarean Section (C-Section)

You had a cesarean section, or C-section. During the C-section, your baby was delivered through a surgical incision in your abdomen and uterus. Full recovery after a C-section can take time. It’s important to take care of yourself—for your own sake and because your new baby needs you. Here are some guidelines to follow at home.

Incision Care

  • Shower as needed. Pat your incision dry.

  • Watch your incision for signs of infection, such as increasing redness or drainage.

  • Hold a pillow against the incision when you laugh or cough and when you get up from a lying or sitting position.

  • Remember, it can take as long as 6 weeks for a C-section incision to heal.



When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher

  • Redness, pain, or drainage at your incision site

  • Repeated clots of blood (the size of a quarter or larger) passing from the vagina

  • Bleeding that requires a new sanitary pad every hour

  • Severe pain in the abdomen

  • Pain or urgency with urination

  • Trouble urinating or emptying your bladder

  • No bowel movement within 1 week after the birth of your baby

  • Don’t try to take care of anyone other than your baby and yourself.

  • Remember, the more active you are, the more likely you are to have an increase in your bleeding.

  • Get lots of rest. Take naps in the afternoon.

  • Increase your activities gradually.

  • Plan your activities so that you don’t have to go up or down stairs more than necessary.

  • Do postsurgical deep breathing and coughing exercises. Ask your doctor for instructions.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby until your doctor tells you it’s okay.

  • Don’t drive until your doctor says it’s okay.

  • Don’t have sexual intercourse until after you’ve had a follow-up appointment with your doctor and you’ve decided on a birth control method.

  • Don’t take a tub bath or use douches or tampons for 4 weeks.


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.