Recovering from a caesarean is the same as recovering from major surgery… because it is major surgery. We can’t discount this. As well as nursing both your new baby and your fatigued body, you’ll have hormone surges and drops, not to mention interrupted sleep. In this stage, it’s important to carve out a deep sense of patience, set boundaries and welcome help when it’s offered. This is your time to take it slow to recover well.


Usually a caesarean will take between 30 and 60 minutes, by the time you take into the consideration the prep, the birth and the closing up of your uterus and abdomen. Generally speaking, in most cases you should be able to return to the maternity ward within an hour or so after the caesarean.

In terms of the healing process, this can vary woman to woman. Again, generally speaking, 6 weeks is a fair and common estimate. During the recovery process it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and rest. Avoid any strenuous activity (including lifting other children, carrying shopping bags, exercise and sex). Note that; you’ll be asked to avoid driving for this same 6 weeks.

A few tips for the recovery process (not to speed it up but rather to contribute to your comfort); use a pillow on your lap when you’re feeding to protect the wound site, always make sure your dressings are clean and dry; and when in doubt, the answer is don’t.

For example if you’ve dropped your toothbrush in the shower and you’re unsure about bending over to pick it up - don’t. Leave it until later. If you want something on a high shelf and you’re nervous about reaching up, don’t. Ask for help. If someone texts you and you feel impolite for not responding asap, don’t. The mental load following birth is enough to deal with. A text reply can wait.


The type of incision will differ from woman to woman (i.e. the exact height and angle can vary), however as the obstetrician is penetrating both skin and six layers of tissue, a scar will be left above the pubic bone and beneath the naval.

To care for your scar and the healing process in general, below are some tips;

  • Follow recommendations for gentle exercise when you’ve been given the green light to move a little more. Warming up your muscles can encourage blood flow, cell growth and promote tissue healing.
  • Talk to your obstetrician, midwife or GP about appropriate foods to include in your diet. For example, iron and protein rich meals can encourage tissue recovery. Fibre rich meals will help create more seamless bowel movements, so you won’t have to overexert your abdomen to push.
  • Keep your wound dry and dry. Daily showers, fresh clothes, fabrics that breathe and appropriate dressings. If you find your wound is bleeding or oozing fluid, give your midwife or obstetrician a call asap.

Massaging the scar has proven wonderful effects. However, it’s very important that you hold off on massage until your wound has completely healed (usually around week 6 post birth). Watch our tutorial here


As with women who deliver vaginally, it’s very common to experience bleeding for up to 4-6 weeks after a caesarean. This bleeding is commonly referred to as ‘lochia’. Lochia is a vaginal discharge made up of blood, mucus and uterine tissue. In short, it’s your body expelling what it no longer needs via the vagina.

You’ll note that in the earlier days the blood will be dark red and quite heavy, especially when you’re breastfeeding. When you're breastfeeding, your body will release oxytocin, making your uterus contract hence the heavier bleed. After a few weeks it’ll fade to a brown and then to a pink before it stops completely. Maternity pads will be your best friend.

If you ever notice extremely heavy amounts of excessive cramping, bleeding or clotting (especially if the clots are around the size of an apricot or golf ball), it’s advised to call your midwife or obstetrician as soon as you can.

Appointments to Book

Following your caesarean, a 6 week check up with your GP, obstetrician or your maternal health nurse will be automatically booked.

While the 6 week check up (for you) will touch mainly on your physical wellness, it’s recommended that you also book an appointment to cater for your emotional health too. Whether you book in to see a psychologist (you’ll need a referral from your GP first), have a conversation with your maternal child health nurse or someone else who you trust (such as a postpartum doula), having the space to voice where you’re at can be hugely beneficial. The transition from women to mother (matrescence), or going from one child to two or more is monumental. While some will flourish with these changes and newness, others may struggle to cope. 1 in 5 women will suffer from postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety or combination of both in Australia, so by all means make sure to afford yourself time, empathy and patience.

At the 3, 6 and 12 month marks, you may also like to get your baseline hormones checked via a blood test, to track any drastic changes. This test can be arranged with your GP. Postpartum depletion and other mental struggles can sneak up very quickly when you’re preoccupied with raising babies and experiencing such huge hormonal shifts. Having a ‘birds eye view’ so-to-speak of your hormonal balance at these particular times can make it a lot easier to spot deficits (i.e. iron) and other imbalances that may need attention. Read about postpartum depletion here

Booking an appointment with a women’s health physio is a fabulous idea. It’s wise to check that everything is good to go in terms of your pelvic floor, your abdomen, hip alignment, lower back and all other physicalities that get a good workout during pregnancy and birth.

And finally, book some time just for you, with your partner, or with some friends, it can be helpful to do things that don’t revolve around your baby and home-life.

How Does Your Partner Prepare For A Caesarean

Firstly, perhaps start with an open conversation with your partner to run them over the procedure, if you’re the one who has been doing most of the research. As it’s quite an invasive surgery, it could be helpful to remind them that there will be blood, surgical equipment, quite a few people in the room, beeping machines and… a baby being born. Also, if they’re prone to fainting in the presence of blood, best to warn your obstetrician or midwife. It happens!

Secondly, ask your partner to take photos or perhaps play some music (if these are things you’d like).

Thirdly, make sure they are aware of the extent of the healing process. As you won’t be lifting, carrying other children, driving or anything else too strenuous, they’ll need to be available.

And lastly, be open and honest with them. They are your advocate. If you ever feel anxious, worried, confused or overwhelmed - tell your partner to make this known to the medical team before, during or after the procedure.

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