Postnatal Essentials

Posted on January 15, 2015 - 11:19am
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Length of Stay

As the “Baby Boom” continues in Australia, all Sydney maternity hospitals are experiencing bed shortages. This translates to a shortened length of stay for all well healthy women.

Vaginal Birth

You will generally remain in hospital for around 2 – 4 days. Each of the four hospitals that Dr Morris attends offers something different regarding early discharge. If you would like more information, please contact the hospital you are booked into.

Perineal tears/stitches.

If you have a perineal tear that requires stitches, some basic care should be taken.

  • The stitches will dissolve naturally; this can take up to six weeks. Do not be alarmed if you see some stitch material in your underwear.
  • The best management of any perineal wound is good hygiene: A daily shower, giving the area a gentle cleanse using a mild, fragrance free soap, and pat dry with a soft towel.
  • Change pads regularly and don’t be surprised if there is some stinging or burning when passing urine. This should improve each day. If not, please contact the rooms.

 Caesarean Section

You can expect to spend 4 – 5 days in hospital after a caesarean section.

  • The day after the procedure you will be up and about
  • You will be wearing anti – embolitic stockings and we suggest you continue to wear these until you are fully mobile. These stockings decrease the incidence of DVT (deep vein thrombosis).

Wound Care

  • The dressing will be taken off before you leave hospital and the staples removed (this is Dr Morris’s preferred wound closure material which gives a great result). The wound can now be left uncovered.
  • When showering cleanse wound gently and pat dry.
  • Avoid wearing tight clingy clothing as this may irritate the wound
  • Some slight redness and itchiness is common, however, if the red area is increasing in size or you feel that the area is hot and you have a fever, please call the rooms.

Pain Relief

Pain relief will be prescribed for you on discharge from hospital. Remember that strong painkillers will often make you drowsy so be careful when feeding or changing baby.


Dr Morris is happy for you to drive 2-3 weeks post-caesarean section, as long as you are able to twist and turn and move suddenly if needed. You also need to be able to comfortably reach the pedals. It is advised that you check with your insurance company, as some insurers will not cover you until you are six weeks post surgery.


You can expect to experience bleeding for anywhere up to six weeks. This is normal and occurs as the lining of the uterus heals where the placenta was attached. The blood is usually pinkish brown in colour, it may become brighter after a breastfeed or exertion. (Remember the same hormone Oxytocin causes the uterus to contract as well as causes the milk making cells in the breast to release the breastmilk). If you are experiencing heavy bright bleeding after 2 – 3 weeks please call the rooms.

Returning to Exercise and Lifting

  • You should avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the next six weeks
  • Allow your body time to heal and recuperate
  • Try and have a rest each day
  • Walking should be your only form of exercise for the first six weeks (no steep hills or over exertion). After your six week postnatal check you can gradually return to regular exercise.


  • Baths and swimming in pools (the ocean is ok) should be avoided while you are still bleeding vaginally, due to an increased risk of infection from bacteria that may be found in the water.
  • Tampons should be avoided for the same reason, use pads instead.

Six week Postnatal appointment

  • It is important for your future health and fertility to ensure everything has returned to normal six weeks postnatally.
  • You will have the opportunity to discuss your delivery with Dr Morris
  • You will undergo a routine pap smear
  • This appointment is also a good opportunity to provide you with contraceptive options and advice.

By Angela Smith
Midwife & Lactation Consultant

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driving after caesarean   leaving hospital   perineal care   perineal tear   postnatal   postnatal appointment   postnatal essentials   returning to exercise   wound care  
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