Your Hospital Stay After A C-Section – What’s It Like?

hospital stay after c-sectionAre you wondering what your hospital stay after a C-Section will be like?

When I had my first C-Section, I didn’t have time to think about my hospital stay because my first C-Section wasn’t planned.

But unlike me, if you are planning a C-Section and wondering about how long you’ll be in the hospital, your baby’s care, eating, walking and pain, here’s a sneak peak at what you can expect your hospital stay to be like.

You can expect to be in the hospital about 3 days overall.  That’s not to say you can’t go home sooner, but typically it takes about 3 days for the hospital to determine you’re ready to go home.

What do I mean by ‘ready‘?

After abdominal surgery like a C-Section, there are certain things your doctor and the hospital want to make sure you can do before they release you.  Those things are:

  • Be able to urinate
  • No infection present
  • Perform a bowel movement
  • Pain is under control

Those are things that determine if you can go home.  If your baby has medical issues and needs to remain in the hospital, you will be released but your baby may need to stay longer.

What Happens Immediately after your C-Section?

Immediately after your c-section, you will be stitched up and your baby will be taken to be cleaned up, generally in the same room.   You can request to hold you baby at this time but that often depends on your doctor and hospital policy.

Once you’re stitched up you are wheeled into a post-anesthesia care unit called the (PACU) where you will be hooked up to blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen monitors.  Your vital signs will be monitored in PACU for about 1-2 hours.  Here you will continue l be on IV fluids at least for another 24 hours.   That goes for your bladder catheter as well.

Some hospitals may even allow you to start breastfeeding at this time.  If that’s what you’d like be sure to ask for that.  Also if you start to feel the anesthesia wear off, be sure to speak up and request some additional pain medication.

After recovery in the PACU, you will be wheeled to your hospital room.  The next few hours will be quiet.  If the hospital has a policy that your baby can be in your room with you, baby will probably arrive soon as well.

The First Day in Hospital

A lot happens in those first 24 hours of having your C-Section.   In fact, At about the 12 hour mark, the nurse will come in and get  you up to walk.  This is important because walking soon after your procedure reduces the risk of blood clots.

It’s also about this time, give or take a few hours that you will be delivered your first meal.  Don’t expect too much.  It may be fairly light or even clear liquids.   If you’re feeling hungry you may want to request more food, but I recommend taking it slow, too much food or heavy food could make your sick, so keep it light.

If you are going to breastfeed, a lactation nurse may pay you a visit.  If you’ve already begun to breastfeed, perfect, if not she may help you get started.  Breastfeeding can be a bit tricky, and painful after surgery but your lactation nurse  will coach you on easier ways to handle breastfeeding such as lying on your side and how to use pillows for comfort.

The nurses will check your incision site as well. The doctor may require draining devices to draw excess fluid from the c-section incision. Monitoring the incision is important to avoid infections.

Day Two and Three in Hospital

At some point during these last two days in the hospital, a nurse should come by to help you with how to care for your incision and answer any questions you have.   If you have dissolving stitches, you won’t need to worry about having them removed, if they’re not dissolving, they should come out in about 5-6 days.

You should be able to eat regularly by day three.  You should also be walking easily and also passing gas, hopefully ;-)

It’s on day three that you’ll probably be getting anxious to go home, most moms are, and that’s OK, but one thing I’d highly recommend is try to look ahead a little to your time at home and make sure that you get everything you need from the folks in the hospital.  For instance if you need more help with breastfeeding, use this time to work with the lactation consultant more.

Use this time to take a few quiet moments and think about any final questions you may have and get them answered before leaving.

Blessings,

Elizabeth

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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10 comments

  1. David says:

    As a PA, I have seen so many patients will pelvic floor problems later in life due to giving birth naturally. In my honest opinion I believe having a Caesarean is a better way to go..

  2. Vicki says:

    I’m due to have a section in about 3 weeks, my 1st was emergency so I didn’t have time to be prepared really. However, I do feel a lot better this time knowing what to expect and knowing what will happen! Thanks xx

  3. Staci Jansma says:

    I did not experience a c-section with my daughter or my son but I have heard the stories. This is a great informational article that I will be sharing the time I hear someone is expecting. This will a way to get the information in front of them and at their fingertips.

  4. Jenn says:

    Nice post! Thanks for writing about this! I am about 8 weeks post c-section. This was my second. I definitely knew what to expect the second time around. The firts time…not so much..

  5. c-section blog says:

    Barbara, yes those first ones are generally emergencies and they catch us off guard every time it seems. There are so many surpirses and procedures that, when you’re not ready for them, can be hard to take. That’s why I’m so for women at least having some idea of what to expect. Having your first baby should be enjoyable not miserable. Thanks for your great input!

  6. Barbara says:

    Great info, c-sections are usually emergencies the first time and we are completely unprepared. Don’t forget the “shakes” I had horrible shakes the first time due to a stronger spinal, almost the entire time I was in recovery. Second time not as bad, also not an emergency.

  7. Cara Mirabella says:

    I seriously wish I had this information before having my son. He was an emergency c-section so we were no prepared at all. Thanks for sharing the info – it’s important for every mom-to-be to know what might happen and be prepared!

  8. c-section blog says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned that Nell, it’s true — you never really know if a c-section might come up. That’s the very thing I hope to help and prepare women for. It was a huge surprise when it happened to me and the experience could have been so much more rewarding if I had been prepared.

  9. Nell says:

    What a great post. So informational. And it’s something most Mom’s never even read about before hand. I know with all three of my pregnancies I never read about a c-section, and you just never know when you might need one.

    Nell

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