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Women and Family Care

C-section recovery at the hospital

Be sure to read what to expect with a C-section delivery.
You and your baby will stay in your postpartum recovery room for three to four days after your baby's birth. The following points will help you understand what to expect during your hospital stay:

  • There are various pain medicine options available if needed. Duramorph analgesia can be added to spinal anesthesia for pain relief during surgery and following a Cesarean birth. IV pain medicine will be available until you are able to tolerate oral pain medicine, usually about six to 12 hours after surgery.
  • You will need to cough more and need to breathe more deeply in order to clear mucus that may have settled in your lungs during surgery.
  • You can expect your bowel function to be slower due to the anesthesia, exposure of your intestines to air during surgery and lack of physical movement.
  • After surgery, you'll have a special diet. You will be given water to drink when the nausea has passed. You will be given clear liquids (water, sprite, broth, weak tea) to full liquids (milk, hot cocoa) to a soft/regular diet (mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese). You'll advance through each diet stage and your nurse will watch to make sure your body can tolerate the foods you are eating.
  • Six to eight hours after surgery, your nurse will help you to stand at the edge of your bed. If you are feeling up to it, your nurse will help you walk to the bathroom and will help you clean yourself.
  • The sooner you start walking after surgery, the better for your recovery. By 24-48 hours after surgery, you will be taking short walks around the nurses' station.
  • Your incision may have a small dressing covering it for about 24 hours. Your healthcare provider usually removes the dressing at that time. You will be able to shower about 24 hours after surgery.

Be sure to read what to expect with a C-section delivery.

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