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Cesarean Section - What to Expect After C-Section

When to call a doctor

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
  • You have severe pain in your belly.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have bright red vaginal bleeding that soaks one or more pads each hour for 2 or more hours.
  • Your vaginal bleeding seems to be getting heavier or is still bright red 4 days after delivery.
  • You pass blood clots larger than the size of a golf ball.
  • You have vaginal discharge that smells bad.
  • You are sick to your stomach or cannot keep fluids down.
  • You have loose stitches, or your incision comes open.
  • Your belly feels tender, or full and hard.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin.
    • A fever.
  • You have signs of a blood clot, such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.
  • You have trouble passing urine or stool, especially if you have pain or swelling in your lower belly.
  • You feel sad, tearful, or hopeless for more than a few days, or you have troubling or dangerous thoughts.

Some women feel shoulder pain for days after a cesarean section. This is referred pain, caused by trauma to the abdominal muscles during the delivery. It goes away on its own during recovery.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 23, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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