It takes longer to recover from a caesarean birth than from a natural one.
- You will need pain relief for at least 48 hours. To begin with this may be patient-controlled analgesia (PCA), where you have a hand-held pump to administer morphine to yourself via a drip whenever you need it.
- You will have a catheter (a fine tube) fitted into your bladder to remove urine for up to 24 hours.
- You will usually stay in hospital for about three to four days after a caesarean birth, but may be able to leave earlier.
- Your midwives will encourage you to get up and move around as soon as possible to help prevent blood clots (thrombosis). Once you are mobile your bladder catheter can be removed.
- Feeding your baby may be uncomfortable because of your scar, but your midwives will give you lots of support to help get you started.
- Your scar will be covered by sterile dressings for 24 hours after the birth. It will take about six weeks to heal completely. Your midwives will tell you how to care for it and keep it clean.
- You will need to rest and take it easy for several weeks.
- It's important not to do certain things, such as driving a car, having sex, exercise or carrying heavy objects, until you feel ready. Talk to your GP or health visitor if you are not sure.
- Before you drive for the first time, check with you car insurance company that you are covered.
- Vaginal blood loss (lochia) is usually lighter after a caesarean birth, but you will still pass blood for several weeks.
- Drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fibre to help prevent constipation.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes and cotton or disposable maternity knickers.
- Gently wash and dry your wound every day, rinsing it well and patting it dry with a clean towel rather than rubbing.
- Try to stay gently active.
- Tell your midwife, health visitor or GP if:
- you feel pain on weeing or are leaking urine
your blood loss (lochia) gets heavier
- you feel any pain in your lower abdomen
- you notice any soreness, redness or discharge around your scar.