Cesarean Birth: Post Cesarean Care

Education regarding care for you and your baby will begin as soon as possible after your Cesarean birth in preparation for your discharge. We have enclosed the following information to help you and your partner understand what to expect the first 18 hours after a Cesarean birth.

Hourly Checks
Staff will be monitoring your vital signs and comfort level on an hourly basis for the first 18 hours following your cesarean birth. You will have these checks even as you sleep. Staff will make these checks as least disruptive as possible.

Pain Medication
During surgery you receive medication that offers relief for most of your discomfort for the first 18 hours post delivery. Additional medication for pain will be ordered and available as needed. It is important to remember that medication for pain is ordered on an “as needed” basis and not on a scheduled basis. Let your nurse know if you need pain medication. Pain medication may minimize pain but not eliminate it completely. Your nurse will ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0-10. You can also discuss non-pharmaceutical alternatives with your nurse.

Intravenous “IV” fluids
You will have intravenous fluids on a continuous drip via an IV catheter in your arm post delivery. These fluids keep you hydrated and the IV catheter provides access for medications to treat pain, nausea or itching as needed. The fluids may be discontinued prior to 18 hours while the IV catheter will remain in place for 18 hours.

Compression Boots
You will have compression boots on your lower legs to enhance circulation post delivery. The boots massage your legs and reduce the risk of blood clots that can accompany any surgery.

Foley Catheter
You will have a catheter in place draining your urine. The catheter is placed while in the OR and will be discontinued within 8-12 hours after your surgery.

Your nurse will help you out of bed within the first 8-12 hours. This early activity helps to prevent post surgical complications. Your nurse will continue to assist you out of bed until you are comfortable to do so on your own.

Abdominal Dressing and Vaginal Blood Flow
Your nurse will be checking your abdominal dressing and the amount of vaginal blood flow. You will find your vaginal blood flow will be heavier in the first 24 hours and then lessen.

Surgery and anesthesia may slow digestion. You will start with ice chips and progress to clear liquids (Jell-O, popsicles, broth, juice) then solids. Your nurse will listen to your abdomen for bowel sounds to assess your digestion. You will progress to a regular diet as your condition allows.

“Rooming In” in your postpartum room is encouraged to build a strong bond with your baby. Staff will be available to assist you with baby care and feeding. In the event your baby is admitted to the Special Care Nursery, we will encourage you to be with your baby as much as possible and staff will assist you to visit as soon as your condition allows. We support ongoing communication between parents and staff to help answer your questions and enhance the bonding process.