Advice for Recovering from Your C-Section

Having a caesarean birth is an intensive surgical operation so it’s only natural that you will need to take time to recover.

Having a C-section is an intensive surgical operation so it’s only natural that you will need to take time to recover. Compared to other people you know who have had vaginal births, you may find that your postnatal recovery seems slower but it’s important to go at your own pace. Recovering fully isn’t a race.

Your incision (cut) may look large at first but as your uterus contracts and your belly shrinks down it will become smaller and fade into a fine line. Most stitches used are dissolvable so you don’t have to go back into the hospital to get them removed.

Recovery time varies from person to person. Your wound may be sore for a week or two but should steadily feel better as it heals. If the pain continues or you are concerned about your wound, talk to your LMC.

Here are some recommendations for optimal C-section recovery:

  • Take pain relief as you need it – you’ve had major surgery.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Many birthing people say they find getting up and moving around as soon as possible leads to a faster recovery. This is usually around 6-8 hours following birth, once your midwife has advised that it is safe for you to get out of bed.
  • Remember to drink enough water to ensure you’re staying hydrated.
  • Don’t let yourself get overtired from too many visitors – limit them if you need to. Rest is the number one thing that will best help your recovery.
  • Eat well and drink normally – it’s important to stay hydrated.
  • You should aim to breastfeed your baby during or as soon as possible after your operation to establish feeding and help build a good milk supply. You may need to try a range of feeding positions to find one that feels most comfortable.
  • You should avoid lifting for up to six weeks after your C-section to give your incision time to heal – that means things like hanging the washing on the line, picking up small children and vacuuming. It is also recommended not to drive for 4-6 weeks or until your LMC says it is okay to do so. Ask for and accept assistance from your loved ones as you need it – they can only help if they’re aware of your needs.
  • Read this information leaflet about caesarean sections from National Women’s Health.