Recovery After Caesareans

PDF available: Anaesthesia for Caesarean Section – Patient Information Sheet
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Our goal is to make you comfortable after your operation; this will enhance your recovery ensuring that you are able to get home safely and quickly.

Immediately after the operation

Most Anaesthetists will give a small amount of morphine at the time that the spinal is administered, and you will be given additional pain relief at the end of the procedure. At the completion of your operation you will be transferred to the post anaesthetic care unit located next to the operating theatre. You will be able to continue nursing your baby here.

You will be monitored for 1-2 hours, then you will be moved to your room on the Maternity Unit. The effects of the spinal will wear off after 3-4 hours. Your urinary catheter and IV cannula are removed the next day.

The Anaesthetic team will review you on the day after your procedure to check on your recovery and answer any further questions you may have.

Ongoing recovery

You will be prescribed regular paracetamol and diclofenac as the mainstay of pain relief. Some discomfort (not distressing pain) is expected and is a sign of healing.

Stronger pain relief is available should you need it. All of the medications that you receive will be safe whilst you are breastfeeding.
On the first day after your surgery you are encouraged to mobilise. Daily physiotherapy classes are available and we recommend that you attend these to assist in your recovery.


A low dose of spinal or epidural morphine given at the time of surgery provides excellent pain relief for up to 36 hours. This means that you will need less of the stronger types of medications and you will therefore experience fewer side effects.

Common nuisance side effects of spinal or epidural morphine may include itch and nausea/vomiting; this usually indicates that the morphine is reaching its site of action. You will be monitored carefully after its administration.

If a general anaesthetic is required

We may be unable to give you a dose of spinal or epidural morphine in this instance. After your caesarean you will be given an IV patient controlled analgesia (PCA) machine to make you comfortable.

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