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A Week-by-Week Guide to Recovery After a C-Section

Here's a week-by-week guide to help you navigate the post-Caesarean (C-Section) terrain, from your first days in the hospital to the six-week mark and beyond.

Week 1:
The Initial Recovery

The first days post-C-section are about rest and recuperation. You'll likely spend 2 to 4 days in the hospital, where midwives and doctors will monitor your healing progress. During this week:

Pain Management

You'll be prescribed pain medications to manage discomfort after surgery. Take them as directed and communicate any concerns to your healthcare team. Staying on top of pain management in the first few days is really important.


Mobilising as early as 6 hours post-surgery is recommended for optimal recovery. Getting up for the first time is going to take lots of effort and most women report this to be the most strenuous and painful time during the recovery period. For adequate coverage, ask your healthcare provider for pain medication prior to mobilising. After getting up for the first time, focus on gentle movements like walking to promote circulation. Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting.

Wound Care

Keep the incision clean and dry. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions for care, to reduce the risk of infection.


Throughout this slower period, embrace precious moments with your newborn while balancing rest. This is the perfect opportunity to do lots of skin-to-skin cuddles with your baby and focus on establishing feeding.


Week 2-3:
Gradual Resumption of Activities

After transitioning home, focus on gradually resuming daily activities while continuing to prioritise your rest and recovery:

Light Activities

Gradually introduce light activities like short walks, but avoid heavy lifting or intense exercises.

Pain Relief

Most women find that by this time they no longer require strong pain medication, but may need to continue taking simple analgesia when needed. Stay in close contact with your healthcare provider and report any persistent pain.

Emotional Well-being

Acknowledge your emotions and seek support from loved ones or support groups. Connecting with others who've experienced C-sections can provide valuable insights.


Week 4-6:
Building Strength

Entering the four-to-six-week period, you'll likely experience increased energy levels and improved mobility:

Exercise Gradually

Begin incorporating light exercises approved by your healthcare provider. Focus on core-strengthening exercises and walking.

Scar Management

Continue caring for your incision, and consider using scar creams as recommended by your healthcare provider.

Follow-up Appointments

Attend postpartum check-ups to monitor your overall recovery. Discuss any concerns or questions with your healthcare team.

Beyond 6 Weeks:
Resuming Normal Activities


It’s recommended that you organise a six-week postpartum check-up with your doctor or midwife. At this appointment your care provider will check your scar and examine your overall health. It is usually at this time that a doctor clears you to resume driving, if you haven’t already.

Exercise Routine

With approval from your healthcare provider, gradually reintroduce regular exercises and activities. Consider seeing a Women’s Health physiotherapist to assess your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles prior to resuming regular exercise.

Birth Control

If you're considering contraception, consult with your healthcare provider to determine the most suitable options.


Remember, every recovery journey is unique. Listen to your body and communicate openly with your healthcare team. Embracing a slow and gradual approach to recovery will contribute to a smoother transition into your new role as a parent.