Caesarean birth and the road to recovery

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C-section: Birth and the road to recovery

Learn what happens during a C-section and how to promote recovery afterward.

Sometimes a Caesarean birth (C-section) is safer for mother or baby than is a vaginal delivery. Whether your C-section happens unexpectedly or you've planned it months in advance, you may be anxious about the experience. Here's what to expect during the C-section — and how to promote recovery afterward.

Recovery in the hospital

After a C-section, most mothers and babies stay in the hospital for about three days. To control pain as the anesthesia wears off, you may use a pump that allows you to adjust the dose of intravenous pain medication as needed. Later, oral pain relievers are usually adequate.

Soon after the C-section, you'll be encouraged to walk — with assistance. Getting up and moving around can speed your recovery and help prevent constipation and potentially dangerous blood clots. The catheter and IVs will likely be removed within 12 to 24 hours of the C-section.

While you're in the hospital, your health care team will monitor your incision for signs of infection. They'll also monitor your appetite, fluid intake, and bladder and bowel function.

Last Updated: 12/21/2006
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