Looking after your Caesarean scar

After your caesarean section your blood pressure, pulse, temperature, breathing rates and pain level will be monitored frequently. This is to check you are recovering from your anaesthetic and the birth. If you are well and have no problems, you should be able to eat and drink. If you are hungry or thirsty, your midwife will advise you when it is safe to do so. You will be offered regular pain-relieving medication either in a tablet/liquid form or suppository. A tube which keeps your bladder empty (catheter) will be removed usually within 24-48 hours after your operation, usually when you are out of bed and mobilising. You may have a drain in the wound to allow fluids to drain away to help with healing. It usually remains in place for 24-48 hours and will gently be removed.

Some women experience numbness around the wound and even in their abdomen for some time after the operation. This is normal as the nerves and muscles need time to heal. The midwives looking after you will discuss with you how to look after your wound and how to prevent it getting infected. They will regularly check your wound for signs of infection.

Symptoms of infection are:

  • Redness, heat and swelling around the wound
  • Increased pain
  • The wound starts to open
  • Foul smelling discharge or pus from the wound.

This can be accompanied by feeling unwell and having a high temperature. If you develop any of these symptoms whilst in hospital, let staff looking after you know immediately. If these symptoms happen when you are discharged home contact your midwife/GP immediately for advice. You may need to have medication/treatment. It is important to complete any prescribed antibiotics and to take regular pain relief as recommended by your healthcare team. Have a bath or shower daily, ensuring your wound is carefully washed and dried. If you notice any bleeding from your wound, contact your midwife/GP immediately for advice/ You may need to have medication/treatment. There is no need to apply a dressing unless instructed to do so, dressings will be supplied to you if needed. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and cotton underwear to help keep your wound area from getting too hot and sweaty. You will have stitches in your wound, they will either be dissolvable or need to be removed. If they need to be removed, the midwives looking after you will discuss when this will happen.

Women usually stay in hospital for 2-3 days after the birth. If you and the baby are well, you may be able to go home earlier than this. When you go home, you should continue to take regular pain killers. There may be some things you can’t do straight after the birth, such as driving a car, lifting heavy things and some exercises. Speak to your healthcare team who will be able to offer advice. Check with your car insurance provider about driving after a caesarean section. Some insurance companies require your GP to certify you are fit to drive. You will need to have a six week postnatal check to ensure that your body has recovered from your operation, this is usually with your GP. Most women who have had a caesarean section can safely have a vaginal delivery for their next baby, known as vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC). However, you may need some extra monitoring during labour to make sure everything is progressing well. Some women may be advised to have another caesarean if they have another baby. This depends on whether a caesarean is still the safest option for them and their baby.