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What to Expect After a C-Section

I have had 4, yes FOUR c-sections. When I had my first c-section birth I was scared and unsure of what to expect. Today I wanted to share with you what to expect after a c-section so you can be prepared if you find yourself in this position too.

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About C-Sections

What to Expect After a C-Section

Off To The Recovery Room

Once the surgery is done, mom and baby are rolled off together to the recovery room.  If you’re feeling a little shaky, they will let dad carry baby or push him or her in the baby cart.  In the recovery room, they will continue to monitor mom and baby for another hour or so.

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About C-Sections

Skin To Skin After a C-Section

With our first, it didn’t occur to me to request skin to skin contact with her as soon as she was brought over.  Instead, they handed her to my husband while I was sewn up.  For our following c-sections, I was the one to take baby right away and we did skin on skin contact immediately. Make sure you request this if you’d like to have it.

You Can Breastfeed (Almost) Immediately

Another thing that didn’t happen with our first and what I wish someone had told me about c-sections.  You can still try to latch and begin breastfeeding soon after delivery.  As soon as the baby is given the thumbs up and brought over, go ahead and try nursing!  With our following c-sections, I actually latched baby as I was laying on the table being sewn up.

The Catheter Is Uncomfortable

Once you have feeling again, you will notice that catheter.  However, with every c-section I’ve had, none of the doctors would take it out till the following day.  They wanted to make sure everything was working well and all feeling resumed.  Because as bad as I wanted it out.  They said I would strongly regret if it had to go back in.

You’ll Be Scared To Use The Bathroom

Once that catheter is out, it just feels like a daunting task to use the restroom.  I never actually had any pain.  But it was slightly uncomfortable urinating that first time.  Things just felt weird down there.

They Might Not Let You Eat (For Awhile)

This was probably the most infuriating thing about my c-sections.  The hospital where we had our last three kiddos wouldn’t let me eat for 24 hours!  I felt like I was STARVING.  And then they slowly introduced foods.  So for breakfast, I was only allowed broth.  HELLO!?!  That’s not real food!  lol.  I will point out that not all hospitals are quite this picky.  But I had a nurse tell me that they had one patient several years ago that needed to have their stomach pumped because they were fed too quickly and their insides hadn’t “woken up” yet.  Since then, they became more strict with this policy.  The hospital my sister had her kids at let her eat by the next meal.  So it’s something to ask about.

Getting Out Of Bed HURTS

It is pretty painful trying to get up and around after this major surgery.  SO ASK FOR HELP!  Do not try to get out alone.  Move slowly and try not to use your stomach muscles.

You Will Be In Pain So Take The Pain Medications Offered

While in the hospital, it’s super important to stay ahead of the pain.  When the nurse brings in your next dose of pain reliever medication, TAKE IT!  Once home from the hospital, then forgo if you’re feeling better.

Let Your Nurse Help You Start Walking

You will feel very shaky but it’s best to get up and moving asap.  The quicker you do, the faster the recovery will start.  But make sure you always wait for a nurse those first few times.  They will want to be with you helping move your IV pole and monitor how you handle being up.

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About C-Sections

You Will Experience Numbness

Honestly, my last c-section was over 4 years ago and I still don’t have all my feeling back around the scar.  But time has helped and the more severe numbness I felt at first has gone away.

Continue To Be Careful How You Move

For the first couple of weeks at home after your surgery, you really need to be careful.  It’s hard to remember you had major surgery once you start feeling great.  But some women get overly confident and DO end up ripping open the scar, causing bleeding and complications.

No Heavy Lifting = Accept Help

Once home, call in reinforcements if needed!  Weight restrictions are in place after a c-section.  And that means that the doctor will order you to not lift anything heavier than your new baby.  Ask for help.  And be sure to accept it when people offer.

Driving Is Off Limits

Because you just had major surgery, you are not supposed to drive for at least two weeks.  Longer if you are still on pain medication.  So have some plans in place for how you will get to any doctors appointments.  And have someone else do the grocery shopping and errand running while you recover and bond with baby.

Keep An Eye On Your Incision

I actually had my husband just take a quick look at it daily.  He would keep an eye on redness and swelling, both of which are normal if slight.  But because it’s hard to see the incision below the leftover baby belly, it’s good to have someone else take a look at it from time to time.

Don’t Overdo Physical Activity

It’s good to get out for a little fresh air and exercise.  But be careful to not overdo it.  What I wish someone had told me about c-sections is how easy it is to overdo it.  I went for a walk up town with my family and my dad actually had to go get the car and pick me up.  It was becoming painful to even take a step and I had definitely overdone it.

A Cesarian IS Major Surgery

Sure, you know it’s surgery.  But don’t be fooled.  A cesarian is MAJOR abdominal surgery. Know that there is a recovery time and you really have to be careful!  I can’t tell you how many times I told my husband I was convinced I had ripped my scar back open from over-doing things.

So there you go! Now you know what to expect after a c-section. Have you ever had a c-section?   Is there anything else you experienced after your C-section?

What to Expect After a C-Section


Thursday 14th of March 2024

After 4 natural, I had my first (emergency) C-section. My baby was in the NICU for a number of weeks, so I did a lot of walking to and from the NICU. Honestly, I think that aided me in my recovery, as I healed fairly quickly. If baby had come home with me, I probably would've stayed immobile much longer and taken a lot longer to heal.

Starr McDaniel

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

Great tips, especially about the pain medication. Also, I requested EMLA to numb epidural area and asked for catheter to be inserted after epidural. I’m a medical transcriptionist and had typed many cesarean reports, so I had some ideas of my own.

My first 2 deliveries were natural, no medications. If I had it to do again, I would have had an epidural with the first. My second delivery was easy in comparison. When I was pregnant with the twins, I never thought for 1 second it would be by cesarean section. I was due December 1. When I went in for my weekly checkup on November 21, I had gained 11 pounds; none of my shoes fit. The doctor said, “They’re coming out TODAY.” He did a quick scan with a small machine and declared the twins were locked together; baby A breech and facing out, baby B lying across her stomach facing back. When he said cesarean section, I started bawling.

It actually was a lot less painful than I anticipated. The worst part was being separated from my babies until I could wiggle my toes. It was one of the longest hours of my life. When my grandson was born cesarean section, I was thrilled for his mother that they weren’t separated in the same way.

My twins were 6 lbs 15 oz and 7 lbs 6 ounces and perfectly healthy. My recovery was easy. My scar has never bothered and is barely visible.


Sunday 7th of June 2020

I’ve had 5 c sections and I agree with all of those things! I thought that getting a catheter put in was very uncomfortable, a friend told me she always asked to have it put in after the epidural/spinal block. I did that for my last o e and it was so much better!

Deborah D

Sunday 31st of May 2020

Really great information.


Wednesday 27th of February 2019

My first c-section was an emergency after 6 hours of labor and his heart rate dropping with every contraction. I was scared, but so loopy from the drugs that I barely remember it. I remember how miserably sore and difficult the next couple of weeks were, though.

With my second, we had a scheduled c-section and it was night-and-day different from my first. Lowkey, chill, EASY. I never thought I'd refer to major surgery as "easy" but that was really the best experience I could have ever hoped for.