Information for the public
Women generally stay in hospital for 3–4 days after a caesarean section. But if you and your baby are well, and if you wish to go home early, you should be able to go home earlier than this (after 24 hours) and have follow-up care at home.
In addition to routine postnatal care, you will need advice about recovering after a caesarean section and possibly about other complications if you had these during pregnancy or childbirth.
When you go home, you should be given pain killers to take for as long as you need them. For severe pain you should be offered co-codamol and ibuprofen; for moderate pain, you should be offered co-codamol; and for mild pain, you should take paracetamol.
You should be given advice about how to look after your wound. Advice should cover wearing loose, comfortable clothes and cotton underwear, gently cleaning and drying the wound daily, and looking out for possible wound infection (such as more pain, redness or discharge) or fever.
You should tell your midwife or doctor if you have symptoms such as pain on passing urine, or leaking urine.
You should tell your midwife or doctor if your vaginal bleeding increases, or becomes irregular or painful. After caesarean section, this is more likely to be caused by infection in the lining of the womb than by retaining part of the placenta.
You should tell your midwife or doctor if you develop a cough or shortness of breath, or swelling and pain in your legs, so that they can make sure that these symptoms are not caused by a blood clot.
After a caesarean section, you will not be able to do some activities straight away such as driving a car, carrying heavy things, exercise or having sex. You should only start these once you feel that you are able to do so and when they do not cause you pain. If you are unsure, you could discuss this with your midwife.