Update: Now you can grab this post in an easy-to-read downloadable PDF. You’ll gain immediate access to the PDF – which includes the timeline you’ll find below PLUS daily tips to get you healing faster – without all the annoying ads.
You just had a c section (or you’re about to have one) and now you’re wondering what is normal when it comes to recovery?
Maybe you’re feeling a little bummed about your birthing experience. Or you’re worried about recovery.
And at this point all you wanna do is be able to take care of your baby instead of dealing with all of this.
How long is c section recovery?
Trust me, I get it. I’ve done the c section recovery thing twice and it’s not easy at all.
The short answer is c section recovery is different for every woman. Some will be running a 5k six weeks after their cesarean delivery (although I wouldn’t recommend that). Some will need a few months before resuming certain activities.
The C Section Recovery Timeline will give you a guide about how long an average c section recovery might be.
The timeline covers major milestones in your recovery and provides you with actionable tips along the way.
How long does that pain last after a cesarean section?
I know, all of this feels so unfair. Your friend from high school – the one who posts 14 times a day on Facebook – she just had a baby last month and her feed is filled with pictures of her laughing and smiling.
She makes it look like life as a new mom is all sunshine and rainbows.
So how come you’re the “unlucky one”, stuck at home, in pain? Afraid to shower because you can’t remember if you’re allowed to get your incision wet. Struggling to bond with your baby because all you can think about is when you’ll feel better.
You just want all of this to be over so you can focus on what really matters: taking care of your baby.
The short answer is that the pain lasts different times for each woman. But a good rule of thumb is two weeks.
Most women report feeling significantly better two weeks after their c section.
The best answer to this question is to grab an affordable, easy-to-read guide that will walk you through the first two months of c section recovery.
The C Section Recovery Timeline will tell exactly what to expect from the first two months of your c section recovery.
The complete downloadable C Section Recovery Timeline will help you focus on taking care of your baby by answering all of your c section recover questions in one place.
How can I get my c section to heal faster?
C Section recovery impacts every area of your life. And you want to worry about taking care of your baby; not healing from surgery.
The C Section Recovery Timeline will help you take a proactive approach to your healing. Every milestone comes with several actionable tips to help you heal better and faster.
Whether it’s what kind of foods to eat, how to best manage your pain, or what you should be doing almost immediately after your c section delivery – The C Section Recovery Timeline will have you on your way to healing faster.
The pain and the tenderness doesn’t last forever, you will feel normal again!
who are you and why do you write about c sections?
Great question! My name is Jenn and I’m the author here at Forgotten Lattes.
I had my first c section in 2013 (an emergency due to the baby being in distress). And my second in 2016 (a planned c section due to placenta previa).
Here’s where I get super honest with you: c section recovery sucks. Big time. It is by far one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life.
But do you know what makes c section recovery easier? Knowing what to expect and when to expect it. Plain and simple.
And that’s why I wrote a complete C Section Recovery Timeline to share with as many moms as I can.
Because no woman should go home from the hospital hoping that she’ll magically get better without any idea how to heal properly or when she expect to feel better.
THE C SECTION RECOVERY TIMELINE
IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOUR C SECTION
Immediately after the c section, let’s say the first 4-6 hours, you’ll probably be feeling pretty good!
The epidural will still be in effect (but wearing off) and by now you will have received pain medication.
Plus, you’ll be on a high from snuggling your sweet newborn!
24 HOURS AFTER YOUR C SECTION
As the epidural continues to wear off you will become more and more aware of the tenderness in your abdomen.
This is the part where we get super honest with each other: this is going to be painful. And your pain likely hasn’t peaked yet. (more on that later)
During the first 24 hours post c section operation you’ll likely be more focused on the precious baby in your arms than anything else.
The rush of oxytocin will help to keep the pain at bay.
And that’s a good thing! You’ll want to make the most of all that oxytocin. Enjoy all those sweet newborn snuggles- you’ve earned it!
It can take close to 24 hours for the epidural to fully wear off (although you will probably be able to get up and walk efore the 24 hour mark).
At some point in the first 24 hours the nurse will be able to remove your catheter whic is fairly painless.
Your nurse will likely continuer to measure you urine ouput for a while by placing a bowl in the toilet to catch & measure your urine.
Isn’t having a baby fun?! (note the heavy sarcasm)
48 hours after your cesarean delivery
Ok, I’m going to get super real here, the second 24 hours (so 48 hours post c section delivery) were the hardest for me.
And I’ve heard the same for other women.
These hours can be incredibly painful. All of that initial oxytocin has faded, the epidural is completely worn off, you’re been up and walking, and what you’re left with is sleep deprivation and pain.
During both of my c section recoveries the second 24 hours after surgery were the most difficult.
I struggled to stay on top of my pain, and believe me when it comes to pain management you do NOT want to get behind the 8-ball.
If you take the regular dose of pain meds and find you’re still in pain SAY SOMETHING!! There’s usually something the nurses and doctros can do to help you manage your pain.
My best advice is to prepare for this to be the worst part of your c section recovery time. I don’t want to scare you, but you need to be prepared. Knowledge is power, and when you know what to expect you can be proactive in your recovery.
Prepare yourself mentally, ask visitors not to come on this day, communicate with your spouse and medical team.
And if you’re planning to breastfeed, have a plan in place in case you’re in too much pain to nurse during this time. That could be donor milk, formula, or milk you have already pumped yourself.
ONE WEEK AFTER YOUR C SECTION
As your c section recovery timeline continues into the first week you might realize that you are sore and tender.
But these days most likely won’t be as terrible as you might imagine.
At this point in your recovery you will likely be settled into your own home. And even though you’ll probably miss the bed that adjusts with the touch of a button and the 24/7 room service – there’s nothing better than being in your own home with your newborn baby.
Hopefully you’ll find that being in the comfort of your peaceful and quiet home will help you to rest and recover from the
c section more quickly.
By the one week mark, many women find that they are able to stand-up straight, walk around the house, hold the baby comfortably, and are (mostly) off prescribed pain medications.
Something that I highly recommend to c section moms is to invest in a good pair of c section recovery underwear. Essentially these are compression underwear meant specifically for women who are recovering from a c section.
After my first c section I didn’t wear these because I was skeptical; I thought it was a gimmick, and more about vanity than anything else.
But after my second cesarean delivery I wore the c section underwear regularly and I found they made a HUGE difference in my c section recovery time! The underwear are specially designed to support your weak and tender muscles.
The support will make it easier for you to get up and walk – which is key to your recovery.
Now that you have made it to the one week mark you’ve made it through the most difficultpart of recovery! There will probably be a few small road bumps here and there, but for the most part you’ve survived the worst!
TWO WEEKS AFTER YOUR CESAREAN BIRTH
By two weeks out you will likely be feeling back to normal-ish.
When you’re home healing just keep telling yourself “Just get to the two week mark!”
By two weeks after a cesarean delivery I had completely weaned off of my prescription pain medications and most of the over the counter pain relievers (except for maybe some Tylenol on days I walked or was on my feet more).
By the two-week mark you an expect to be able to esume some of your pre-surgery activities like playing with your older kids, driving, even taking short walks. You won’t be able to lift more than the baby or run 5 miles, but you’ll most likely be feeling a whole lot better than you were two weeks ago!
ONE MONTH POST C SECTION
After the two week mark c section recovery just gets easier and easier.
You’ll probably find yourself walking and standing more every day.One day you’ll laugh or cough and notice that you don’t need to hold a pillow over your incision. and you won’t be terrified of something rubbing against you incision.
SIX WEEKS POSTPARTUM AFTER YOUR C SECTION
Once you’ve hit the six week mark it’s pretty much smooth sailing from there! In fact, you’ve probably been feeling more like yourself for a week or two now and slowly enjoying laughing and sneezing without being in pain. That’s pretty great, isn’t it?!
TWO MONTHS AFTER YOUR C SECTION
After you are completely healed (usually around the two month mark) you’ll want to talk with your doctor before resuming any pre- c section activities such as exercise or physical hobbies (like skiing or snowboarding).
Although you will most likely be healed by the two month mark, continue to listen to your body and adjust your activities accordingly.
You might find that some activities you found to be easy before your c section are now more challenging.
You might also find that the muscles around your incision are still tender and will need more time to fully heal.
Quick note: if you are still having moderate to severe pain be sure to contact your doctor.
ONE YEAR POST C SECTION (PLUS GETTING PREGNANT AFTER A C SECTION)
The number one question I see from c section moms is about pregnancy after a c section.
Except in extremem circumstances, most women will be able to conceive and safely carry a pregnancy after a c section.
It is recommended that women who are recovering from a c section wait at least 18 months before conceiving again. Be sure to discuss plans to conceive with your doctor before your conceive.
remember, I am not a medical professional. I am sharing anecdotal advice based off of my personal experience and the research I have performed. This content should not be taken as medical advice; if you have medical questions please seek the advice of a medical professional.