Your health


What should I expect after having a C-section?

It is very important following any kind of surgery to get up and mobile as soon as you are able. There are so many complications of bed rest, deep vein thrombosis being the biggest. You have had major abdominal surgery so you should expect some pain. The Doctors are very aware of this and will automatically prescribe you with adequate pain relief, so it is very important that you take it. Providing you are not allergic or are on any other medication, you should be prescribed a variety of fast and slow acting pain relief to cover the 24 hour period. Drink plenty of water as some pain killers can make you constipated.

As soon as you feel sensation in your legs, get out of bed. Make sure you are not alone the first time you get up as it can sometimes seem like the spinal has worn off but it may still be present in certain areas.

Take advantage of the advice from maternity care assistants and midwives that will be available to you on the ward. It is important to eat and drink well so you have plenty of energy for recovery and for breast feeding if this is what you have chosen to do. Once you are home, make sure you rest well and do not over exert yourself as you will slow down your recovery if you do. It is advisable to hold your tummy when you walk and cough as it helps to support the scar. If there is a stitch on the wound, this will come out on day 5.

You are not insured to drive any vehicle for 6 weeks after abdominal surgery, so enjoy being chauffeured around or staying at home in your pyjamas. The rest of the postnatal care is the same for a normal birth.

What should I do if I feel unwell after I have had my baby?

NHS direct are available 24 hours a day if you need urgent advice. The telephone number is 08454647.

If you need emergency help dial 999 and state your problem and an ambulance will be sent to your address.

The maternity unit where you gave birth is also contactable and the numbers will have been given to you when you went home.

Your GPs surgery and your midwife and health visitor are also there for support and advice.

If you have any of the following you need to get immediate advice: 

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding;
  • Headaches accompanied with blurred vision and or vomiting;
  • Swelling of the calf and associated pain;
  • Chest pain;
  • Sudden onset of shortness of breath.

How do I look after my stitches?

Stitches (also known as sutures) are a dissolvable material which take about 10-14 days to dissolve and for the wound to start to heal. It is important to take regular pain medication if you have had stitches so your first few days with your baby arent spoiled by discomfort! Ensure the pain medication you take does not interfere with having your bowels open as constipation and painful stitches can be very uncomfortable. Make sure you eat a healthy diet with a recommended 8 glasses of water per day. Avoid touching the area. When passing urine you may find it helpful to pour warm water over the area to avoid the urine stinging the wound. Dry the area with a clean towel using a patting technique as opposed to dragging the towel. Start your pelvic floor exercises as soon as possible!

Why does my lower back ache now I have had the baby?

The hormones in pregnancy are still present is varying amounts once you have had the baby. These hormones soften the bones to facilitate the babys arrival. The lower back is the most affected area. This is also due to the tummy muscles being weaker after pregnancy and not as supportive for the spine. It is important not to worsen the situation by doing tummy exercises too soon after giving birth. Be careful when bending, stooping and twisting your body. Be aware of your situation and arrange your home around this avoidance. For example, the babys changing mat should be at an appropriate level to prevent lifting from the floor.

What are the contraception options available to me now I have had the baby?

You need to be organised and have your contraception in place as having an intimate relationship may be more spontaneous now that you have a baby. If you are not keen to fall pregnant as soon as your relationship returns to normal, it is vital to be aware of this. The contraception options are the same as before pregnancy but if you are breast feeding you cannot take the combined pill as it is a mixture of oestrogen and progesterone. Breast feeding does inhibit ovulation but you must be aware that if you do not feed more than 8-10 times in a 24 hours period you can ovulate and are therefore at risk of conceiving. For more information on contraception go to