When to Call Your Doctor After Cesarean

A cesarian section is a very common surgical procedure.  Sometimes, however, post-operative complications  occur.  A fever, bleeding or re-opening of the incision, increasing pain, and problems passing urine or stool are all concerning symptoms.  It is particularly important to check your temperature daily over the first 10 days.  If your temperature is above normal (higher than 98.6°F), monitor it every 2 hours if it remains below 100.4°F.  Low grade temperature fluctuations are often temporary, and may not be a cause for concern.  Higher temperatures should be reported to your doctor.

Call your doctor if you have any of the following signs or symptoms:
• Chills and/or a fever over 100.4˚F.
• Swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, or drainage from your cesarean incision, or if the incision opens up.
• Heavy vaginal bleeding that soaks a pad within 15 minutes, or 1 pad per hour for 3 hours.
• Increasing pain or discomfort (with or without swelling) in your lower abdomen.
• Sharp chest pain or problems breathing which could be a sign of a blood clot in the lungs.
• Lower leg or calf pain with swelling, skin redness, or warmth, a sign of a blood clot.
• A lump or hardened area in one of your breasts (a possible blocked milk duct).
• Pain, swelling, tenderness, or redness of your breasts (possible infection)
• Difficulty urinating, pain or burning with urination, blood in your urine, or you can’t urinate.
• Vaginal discharge that has a foul odor, or bright-red blood after the first week.
* There is no lochia during the first 2 weeks.
* Headache, nausea, vomiting, chills, or blurry vision which could be an infection in your blood.
* Feelings of sadness that affect your ability to cope, and does not go away after a few days.
* If you are depressed, and think you may hurt yourself, your baby, or one of your other children.

Your healing should progress without problems.  Don’t worry about what might go wrong.  Spend some time every day resting and caring for yourself.

This booklet is not meant to replace the personal care and advice of your doctor or any member of your health care team.

More About Self Care After Cesarean Birth

Introduction to Self-care After Cesarean Birth
Preventive Self Care
Perineal Care
Physical Changes and Healing
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
Breast Care
Activities and Healthy Exercise
Nutrition and Diet
Family Planning and Birth Control
Normal “Baby Blues” or Postpartum Depression
Your Postpartum Check-Up
Get as Much Rest as You Can
When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor if you think you may hurt yourself, your baby, or one of your other children.

Before you leave the hospital, you will be given phone numbers for your doctor and your baby’s doctor (pediatrician). Keep 24-hour phone numbers near the phone in case of an emergency. Before you call your doctor, have a pencil, paper, and the phone number of your pharmacy ready. Let your doctor know your temperature, if you are breastfeeding, and if you are allergic to any medicines.

For quick reference, keep a list of phone numbers for your doctor, nurse, pharmacy, and your baby’s doctor near every phone.: