What should I expect following my cesarean delivery?

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Expect your energy level to be low the first few weeks after the baby’s birth. Listen to your body and pace yourself. Don’t hesitate to nap when necessary. Gradually increase your activity and exercise over time. During the first week, you may ride in a car and take walks, but rest as much as possible and avoid heavy lifting. You may climb stairs. In the second week after your delivery, gradually increase your activity. If you are not on pain medication and it doesn’t hurt when you push the car brakes, you may drive. Do not lift more than 30 pounds (yes, that includes children). After three weeks, you may continue to increase your activities as you feel like it, but no exercises until your first post-operative check up. Make sure to continue to allow yourself rest periods in the morning and afternoon.

Showers are preferred for the first ten days to two weeks. If a shower is not available, a very shallow tub bath may be taken. Please resume eating a regular, well-balanced diet unless you had diet restrictions before your delivery. Continue taking your prenatal vitamins until they are gone. If you are breastfeeding, continue taking prenatal vitamins while you are nursing. Drink at least two quarts of fluid daily and if you are breastfeeding, drink one extra quart.

Pain medicine may be prescribed for you. Please follow the directions on the label. Or you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as the label indicates for pain.

It is not unusual for you to have mood changes after delivery. While your family can help support you through these changes, if your emotions become overwhelming, please call our office.

If your breasts become full and painful and you are not breastfeeding, you can apply a tight binder or sports bra and ice packs. Do not express milk from breasts!

You may notice a change in your bowel habits. If you become constipated, try some dietary changes like increasing the amount of fluid you drink and the amount of fiber in your diet (bran flakes, prune juice, Metamucil, or Senakot). If you continue to have constipation, you may try some over-the-counter medications such as Colace or Milk of Magnesia -- but please follow the directions on the label. Avoid consuming a lot of milk and cheese, as they can cause you to become more constipated. If hemorrhoids are swollen and painful, use a tub bath, Corticaine ointment (available over the counter), Anusol suppositories (by prescription) and/or witch hazel pads (over the counter).

The amount of bleeding that each patient has following delivery is quite variable. The important thing is that it should not ever become extremely heavy -- heavier than the heaviest day of your period or soaking more than a pad every hour. You may bleed off and on or have some discharge for six to eight weeks after your delivery. External cleansing of the vaginal area is all that is necessary. Do not douche, use tampons, or have intercourse until after your follow-up visit with your doctor.

Even if you are breastfeeding, it is possible that you can get pregnant. Talk with us at your follow up appointment about contraception options.

Call our office immediately if any of the following occur:

If you ever have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call the office. We are here to help you!

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