C-Section Recovery – Warning Signs

c-section-recovery-homeYour c-section recovery and healing is going to continue for some months after surgery.  During this time you should keep an eye out for indications of possible infection and other potential problems.

These are warning signs that you may be suffering from post-operative infection or are not healing well, and you should call your doctor and have them checked out.

  • Fever greater than 100 degrees fahrenheit. It may be a sign of an infection, so better to play it safe and have it checked.
  • Severe headache from the time o the birth birth and does not decrease in intensity
  • Sudden onset of severe or persistent pain, tenderness and burning in the abdominal area.
  • Worsening pain or soreness beyond a few weeks, or redness, heat, swelling, or discharge at the site of your c-section incision.
  • Severe or worsening pain in your vagina or foul smelling discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding isn’t reducing; remains bright red beyond the first four days; contains clots bigger than a quarter
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating; needing to pee often but not much comes out; urine is dark or bloody
  • Pain in one part of the leg, which is swollen and red, or one leg is more swollen than the other.
  • Rash or hives on the skin
  • Tender and painful swelling of an area on the breasts, may be accompanied by fever or flu symptoms
  • Severe or persistent vomiting.
  • Feeling panicky, extreme sadness or depression or having strange thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
  • Having double vision, blurring or dimming of vision, or flashing spots or lights.

When to call 911 instead

  • If you have shortness of breath or chest pain, or are coughing up blood.
  • You’re bleeding profusely.
  • You’re showing signs of shock, including light-headedness, weakness, rapid heartbeat or palpitations, rapid or shallow breathing, clammy skin,  or mental confusion.

Other articles in this series

C-Section Recovery – In the Hospital

C-Section Recovery – At Home

C-Section Recovery – Scar Care & Healing

Recovering from a C-Section - Emotional Care


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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Nice, informative post.

    Let me just say that the most common recovery problem is incision infection yet it’s one of the simplest to avoid with proper incision care.

    One thing I’d like to stress is that if you do have areas of concern with your recovery, don’t hesitate to check with your doctor. Many women hope things just go away or they feel embarrassed to call their doctor, don’t give in to that. If something doesn’t seem right, check with your doctor immediately.

  2. csectionadmin says:

    Thanks for your comment Elizabeth – and absolutely right – first sign of any problem have your doctor check it out.

  3. i had a c section 5 weeks ago and felt great after up untill now when i lifted heavy things as im moving house. I now feel really sick my scar is so sore and tender i cant touch it and is now swelling. As its saturday night is it important enough to phone the hospital

  4. csectionadmin says:

    Dear Victoria, this is really an issue you have to take up with your doctor.
    Wishing you all the best

  5. I’ve been out of the hospital since Dec. 29th, 2011 and I have a fowel odor coming from my incision.. they didnt use stitches of any kind so I’m assuming they glued me back together. The smell is soo nasty (smells like I just wiped my butt with my hand), I know that sounds gross saying it like that but it seriously smells like that and I don’t see my doctor for another week.. also it itches really bad but dont want to touch it due to the smell.. please help!

  6. I have had two c-section births and three abdominal surgeries (all of which used my c-section incision scar). Since the last surgery I have had episodes of abdominal pain and loose stool. The entire scar has always been tender! But now the scar is very tender on one end. It burns and is very uncomfortable. Concerned it is hernia, abdominal wall endometriosis, or????? What should I do?

  7. Thank you

  8. csectionadmin says:

    sorry to hear about your tender scar. Our massage program may help if done consistently. That said please consult your doctor and do not take this as medical advice (for legal reasons) if your doctor isn’t helpful, find one who is.

  9. csectionadmin says:

    for legal reasons we can’t really give medical advice, but those symptoms demand at minimum a phone call with your doctor

  10. My daughter just gave birth 4 days ago, c section, and
    has severe swelling in her legs and feet. She is soooo swollen that it hurts her to stand and she can’t fully bend her legs. The pain is awful. The doctors and nurses at the hospital just kept telling her it’s normal, but haven’t given her any instruction on how to help it or when it would be time to check with her doctor. I’m worried for her because she is having such a hard time getting up and down. Which is making it hard for her to care for the baby the way she wants to. She is not scheduled to see her doctor for 6 weeks. She is nursing and hasn’t gotten more then 3 hours sleep at one time. It’s terrible to watch your baby go through this. I feel the nurses should have taken her more serious when she constantly asked about the pain in her legs. Today is Sunday and now we have to wait another day to call anyone. Very disapointed. A concerned mom.

  11. csectionadmin says:

    This is exactly what our c-section recovery belt is for, your daughters abdomen needs support. The belt will also help the scar healing process and give some pain relief as well.


  1. I had a cesarean section says:

    Before exercising, and yoga is a great starting point, you should observe for signs that indicate any damage to your scar- and wear your belly band while exercising. If you do notice any signs of your incision opening, please stop exercising instantly and see a Doctor.

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