After a C-Section: How to Heal and Recover

By Marisa Iallonardo
Reviewed by Elizabeth Eden, M.D.
May 17, 2022

Cesarean sections occur in about 32% of deliveries in the United States, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. If you’ve had this type of delivery, there are a number of things to keep in mind, from incision care to pain management. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common things to expect and smart ways to ease your recovery after a C-section.

What Happens After a C-Section: Short Term

Typically, a C-section recovery involves a two- or three-day stay in the hospital after delivery, says Erin L. Fairbrother, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn and co-director of the General OB-GYN Division at the Vanderbilt Center for Women’s Health, in Nashville, Tennessee. At the beginning of this time you will urinate through a catheter, which will likely remain in place for around 24 hours. You can also expect:

An Incision

There are two different types of C-section incisions: A horizontal incision (called a low transverse incision) is more common by far. A vertical incision is less common but sometimes is used and can make recovery longer, says Estela DiFranco Field, a certified nurse-midwife and associate medical director for the Duke University Hospital Birthing Center, in Durham, North Carolina.

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