C-Section Recovery Timeline: Week By Week Guide
Below is our week-by-week guide leading you through postpartum C-section recovery. (If you didn’t have a C-section, here is our week-by-week postpartum recovery timeline for vaginal delivery to help guide you through.)
According to the Mayo Clinic, a Cesarean delivery, or C-section, is used to “deliver a baby through surgical incisions made in the abdomen and uterus.” Having a C-section has increased in popularity since the 1960s and is a safe delivery method, but it is still not exactly clear what to expect during postpartum recovery. So, we break it down simply below.
The first week of recovery will be the most difficult, but, as with most challenges, it will get easier over time. Although safe, C-sections are considered major surgery, so the hospital will hold you for an additional four to six days. During this time, they will monitor your vitals and work with you to get you back on your feet. Walking about may sound awful, but movement is essential to recovery as it helps prevent blood clots from forming and gets the blood flowing.
During your stay, you will most likely be kept on a liquid diet until your doctor clears you for solid foods. After a C-section or any major abdominal surgery, your bowels may not work as smoothly and need time to find equilibrium. Consult with your doctor about tools like Gas-X and stool softeners to help ease some of the discomforts and get things moving again.
One staple of postpartum recovery is comfortable clothing, so stock up on your “coastal grandmother” style, loose, comfy clothing. That goes for the underwear too. Although you didn’t have a vaginal birth, you will most likely experience lochia. Wearing thick pads, diapers, or postpartum underwear will ensure your comfort.
Lastly, follow the doctor's orders: no lifting anything heavier than your baby, no submerging yourself in water, no tampons, and no sex for six weeks.
Weeks 2 - 4
By week 2, you should be home. Before leaving the hospital, your doctor should have walked you through how to continue care. Your C-section incision will likely be tender, and you may experience cramping and gas pain. Any pain at this point can be managed with ibuprofen. By this point, you should have a good routine set for practicing movement each day. If you have any questions or discomforts, you can bring them up during your first postpartum check-up, which regularly happens around this time.
Week 3 is the halfway point, and you should be feeling more yourself. It’s around now that you can start practicing some pelvic floor exercises.
In week 4, you will see and feel more energy. Lochia may have cleared up or begun to lighten significantly. Throughout these three weeks, continue to approach everything with safety and care.
Weeks 5 - 6
The postpartum recovery journey differs for everyone, but around weeks 5 and 6, your incision should be fully healed, and your uterus should have returned to its normal size. As this is the end of your journey, you will check in with your doctor, and if everything looks okay, you will be cleared for regular activity.
Above everything, be patient and gift yourself some love and grace as you journey through this recovery process. However, your body heals, and the pace at which it does is perfectly okay. If you ever feel concerned, seek community and talk with your doctors.
How Dermaclara Fits into Your C-Section Recovery
Dermaclara is here to help you find your best self in postpartum recovery. Whether stretch marks or your C-section scar, we amplify your self-care and deliver lasting results.
Our silicone patches create a microclimate that boosts moisture and collagen production. This process smooths out scars, lightens discoloration, and, over time, ultimately reduces the appearance of scars. Unlike topical creams, Dermaclara patches safely penetrate the dermis, clearing imperfections and firming up the skin. Our non-invasive, chemical-free silicone patches work on old and new scars and keloids, and recently we released a new silicone patch designed for C-section scars.
We took the same technology delivering exceptional results and adapted it for mamas looking to heal and erase their C-section scars. You don’t have to wait for week 6 to begin treatment. Dermaclara is the #1 clinically proven, pregnancy and breastfeeding-safe product for scar erasure, stretch mark erasing, and tightening loose skin. You can see results in as little as one hour, but for the best results, continue for 30 - 90 days.