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Cesarean section (C-section) incision

If you deliver your baby by cesarean section, you will stay in the hospital three or four days, until you are healed enough to go home. In the hospital, you will be given pain medication as needed.

Any stitches or staples will be removed before you leave the hospital. You will be given a prescription for pain medication to take at home if you need it. At home, you may find that you do not need the prescription. For many women, over-the-counter pain drugs such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) control the pain. 

Your doctor will provide instructions about how to care for a C-section wound. It is important to follow these instructions carefully. These instructions may include: 

  • Keep the incision clean and dry. Wash the area several times a day with warm water. Do not spray water directly into the wound
  • Change any bandages regularly.
  • Wear loose clothing. Avoid clothing that can rub against and irritate the incision. Pay particular attention to underwear bands.
  • Continue packing the wound at home, if needed. Some wounds may not close at first. If your doctor has recommended packing the incision, follow the directions carefully. Change the packing and wash the wound several times a day.
  • Know when to call the doctor. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
    • Fever over 100.4 degrees
    • Persistent drainage or foul-smelling fluid from the incision
    • Increased tenderness at the incision site
    • Separating of the edges of the wound
    • Increased redness or swelling at the incision site

Sore breasts and nipples

Breastfeeding can be one of the joys of being a new mom. It can also be painful sometimes. For most women, there is a remedy for this discomfort, and there is no reason to stop nursing. In fact, nursing may even relieve the pain.

There may be many reasons why your nipples or breasts are sore, including the following:

  • Incorrect latching by your baby. The most common reason for sore nipples is that the baby is not latching onto nipples correctly. With a little practice, you can correct this at home. Your baby should open her mouth widely and take in a wide area of the areola, the circle of dark skin around your nipple. The nipple should be in the back of your baby’s mouth. If you're having problems breastfeeding, ask your doctor or staff at the hospital about talking to a lactation consultant.  
  • Thrush. Thrush is a common infection caused by yeast, a candida fungus. Yeast thrives on milk and in warm, moist environments. Your baby may also have thrush. Check her mouth for white spots on the side of her cheek. Speak to your health care provider about over-the-counter medications. Some medications for yeast infections should NOT be used on breasts, so ask before you begin treatment.
  • Engorgement. Your breasts may become engorged and will with milk and fluid. This usually occurs after delivery when milk is first coming in, but it can happen any time you delay breastfeeding. Nursing or pumping (if you cannot be with your baby) will usually relieve this discomfort.
  • Plugged or clogged milk ducts. Sometimes your milk does not drain completely and a duct can become clogged. Try applying moist heat to the area and gently massaging it. A warm shower can also relieve pain. Be sure to continue to nurse on that side.
  • Mastitis. Mastitis is a mild infection that may be caused by a persistent clogged milk duct. To resolve the pain, apply moist heat to the area, gently massage it, and continue to nurse on that side. If the pain persists or if you have a fever or chills, contact your doctor. You may need antibiotics.