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Home > Medical Services > Women's and Children's Health > Maternity > Postpartum Discharge Instructions > Cesarean - Incisional Care

Cesarean Care

When returning home from the hospital after a cesarean delivery, you should expect to need assistance with caring for yourself and your newborn.

Your Incision

  • At first your incision will be raised and somewhat swollen and pinker than the rest of your body.
  • Any pain should feel better after about two to three days, but your incision may be tender for three weeks or longer.
  • Your scar will become thinner, flatter and less-noticeable over time.

Care for Your Incision

  • If you go home with a dressing, change the dressing over your incision once a day, or sooner if it gets dirty or wet.
  • Your doctor will tell you when to stop keeping your wound covered.
  • Keep the wound area clean by washing it with mild soap and water. You don't need to scrub it. Often, just letting the water run over your wound in the shower is enough.
  • You may remove your bandages to take showers.
  • Do not soak in a bathtub or hot tub, or go swimming, until your doctor tells you it is okay, usually not until 3 weeks after surgery.

If your incision becomes red, swollen, tender, warm, or if it is draining, call your doctor.


Getting up and moving around will help you to feel better, heal faster and may prevent blood clots. The healing process should take about four to eight weeks. While you are recovering:

  • Do not lift anything heavier than your baby for the first six to eight weeks.
  • Stick to short walks, light housework at first. Slowly increase your level of activity as you see fit.
  • Avoid heavy activity until you are fully healed and your physician gives you permission.
  • Do not drive if you are on narcotic pain medicine.

Last Updated: 12/30/2013