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How do I Take a Bath After a C-Section?

By K. Gierok
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Taking a bath after a c-section can be very difficult, especially when it comes to keeping the incision site clean and free from bacteria. In order to have the best results, women who have undergone this type of surgery are typically encouraged to cover the area with plastic wrap or another material that will prevent the incision from being exposed to water and germs. Using proper care when drying after a bath and applying proper bandages are also important steps. Those who notice changes in their c-section incision site after bathing should consult with a physician in order to prevent infection.

When new mothers are attempting to take a bath after a c-section, one of the most important first steps involves covering the incision site. Though there are a number of materials currently on the market that can be used to cover a new c-section incision site, plastic food wrap has actually been found to be most effective. A piece of plastic food wrap should be cut from the roll, making sure that it is large enough to cover the incision site. The plastic wrap can then be placed over the abdomen, and held in place with heavy duty masking tape. In some cases, new mothers may want to consider folding the plastic wrap in half, in order to provide a thicker material with which to cover the incision.

Once the plastic wrap is in place, taking a bath after a c-section is no different from taking one before the procedure. Women can feel free to get their entire bodies wet, though they should take care to avoid keeping the area of the abdomen covered by the plastic wrap under water for an extended period of time, as doing so can cause the tape to loosen, and the incision site to be exposed to contaminants from the water.

Once the bath after a c-section has been completed, the new mother should take some time to make sure that the wound is well cared for. Women who have recently undergone this surgery are typically encouraged to dry the area well after bathing, using a clean, dry towel. In addition, applying new, clean bandages to the incision is especially important for those who are still experiencing draining or leaking from the incision cite. Women who develop any changes in their c-section incision after bathing should contact their physician as soon as possible. Failure to do so can lead to the development of a painful, dangerous infection.

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Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Jan 21, 2012

This is interesting, there doesn't appear to be a consensus on when and how bathing after a c-section should happen. From what I understand, it depends on how the wound is doing.

If the wound is closed and is not infected, I think it's okay to close it up with plastic wrap and take a bath. They say that adding epsom salt in the bath is also a good idea because it prevents infections if the water does get in the wrap.

If there is an infection or if the wound is oozing out blood or fluid, then it's not okay to bathe at all until the leaking stops and the wound heals.

By bear78 — On Jan 21, 2012

@ysmina-- How long after birth and c-section did you have your first bath?

I was told not to bathe for two weeks after the wound dressing was removed from my c-section and that took place four days after my delivery. So, all in all, I wasn't allowed to bathe for close to three weeks but when I did bathe, I didn't have any wound dressings on and it was okay to get the area wet. I just had to dry up really well afterward and apply some antibiotic cream just in case.

Until I could bathe, I used hot water and a washcloth to clean myself and I washed my hair in the sink.

By ysmina — On Jan 20, 2012

I had a waterproof dressing on my c-section after delivery, so I was allowed to bath normally. I didn't worry about getting the dressing wet and I didn't have any problems or infections with it either.

The only thing which worried me was getting in and out of the bathtub without hurting my wound. I actually had to get help from my husband. I don't know if I was being very sensitive but I felt like I would open the stitches if I tried to pull myself up and out of the tub on my own.

Aside from keeping the wound water-free, I think this is another point to pay attention to. As long as you have these two areas covered, bathing after a c-section is no problem.

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