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C-Section Progressions & Recovery

With any type of delivery, you can expect a period of time where you’ll need to rest and heal. With a c-section, resting and taking time to heal is especially important for your health and well-being. The experts at Banner Health are here to support you and your family through this process.

What Happens After a C-Section?

After a c-section, you can expect to stay at the hospital for a few days – this may be longer than after a vaginal birth. You’ll be encouraged to drink plenty of water and walk around as much as possible. You’ll also be able to start breastfeeding your baby as soon as you feel up to doing so. If you’re experiencing pain, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about your options for pain management. 

Recovery Time

While recovery time may be different from woman to woman, it typically takes four to six weeks after delivery to fully recover.

C-Section Aftercare

Resting is one of the best things you can do for yourself after a c-section, which can be challenging with a new baby. Having a support group of family and friends to help can be very beneficial. You’ll also want to avoid lifting anything heavy for the first few weeks. 

Taking Care of the Incision

You can expect to have a couple of follow-ups with your doctor to ensure that your incision is healing properly. Taking good care of your incision is important to avoid infection. Be gentle while washing and drying it and avoid baths or pools. If your incision hurts more than normal or if it’s red, swollen or you see pus, call your doctor right away.

Bleeding After a C-Section

Vaginal bleeding after a c-section is a normal part of the childbirth process. Your body will expel leftover mucus, tissue and blood. This substance is called lochia. The bleeding will likely be heavy at first and then lessen over time. It will also change in color and may be red, brown, pink or yellowish-white. It may take up to six weeks for the lochia to stop. You’ll want to avoid using tampons and opt for a menstrual pad instead. Learn more about postpartum bleeding.

Exercising After a C-Section

Within the first 24 hours after your c-section you’ll want to get up and walk around the hospital but generally you’ll want to keep your activity level low for a while. Expect to keep activities such as lifting heavy objects or doing housework to a minimum for at least four to six weeks. Once you get the OK from your doctor to exercise, start with gentle activities such as yoga or swimming.

Sex After a C-Section

Like exercise, expect to abstain from sex for at least four to six weeks after giving birth. You’ll want to make sure your incision is healed well enough so be sure to check with your doctor before engaging in any sexual activity. Visit our sex after c-section blog post to learn more from a Banner Health expert.

Pregnancy After a C-Section

While most women will not have problems conceiving after a c-section, getting pregnant less than six months after having a c-section may increase your risk of complications.

You may or may not want or need a caesarean for your next delivery. Be sure to discuss any concerns or questions you may have with your doctor.