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Recovering from a Cesarean Birth

Whether you anticipated a Cesarean birth or not, recovering from a Cesarean is different from recovering from a vaginal birth.

First, even without any additional complications, you can expect to stay in the hospital an extra night or two so your medical team can check on your incision, body functions, and general recovery.

Once you are home, continue to pay close attention to your incision to make sure it is healing properly. Don’t lift more than your baby, rest often, and be careful about twisting or putting pressure on the incision. Consider using a heating pad.

Expect vaginal bleeding just like you would with a vaginal birth. It will be heaviest at the beginning. If you sense increased bleeding, this is a sign to slow down your activity. At the same time, it is important to get up and move throughout the day. Usually, it takes about six weeks to resume your normal activities, including sex, moderate exercise, and regular household/professional activities.

Cesarean Recovery Red Flags

If you experience any of these during the first six weeks after your Cesarean, call your medical provider:

  • Filling a pad every hour or passing very large clots

  • Other abnormal vaginal discharge

  • Excessive internal pain

  • Infection or pain at the incision

  • Pain or swelling in your legs

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fever

  • Sadness or “baby blues” that get worse rather than better

Be confident when calling your provider; you aren’t bothering them—they are there to serve and help YOU.

We are too! From Childbirth Education classes to labor and post-labor support, Tennessee Family Doulas are excited to meet you and work with you! We love walking with our Cesarean moms and babies in those early days. Reach out and let one of our doulas help you get the rest and recover you need.


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