C-section tips for dads and partners

There are many ways you can support your partner during and after their caesarean section (c-section).

During a c-section

You can usually stay with your partner during a planned or emergency c-section unless they need a general anaesthetic. 

The midwife or operating assistant will give you a top, trousers and hat to wear in the operating theatre. This is for hygiene reasons. 

Find out what happens during a c-section.

Helping your partner recover after a c-section

You can take part in discussions about your partner’s treatment and care with their permission. Lots of women tell us that their partner helped them to express their wishes during and after the birth. The healthcare team should give you any information and support you need. Ask them if there’s anything you don’t understand or are worried about.

“Give your partner reassurance. It is tough. You just need someone to say you are doing really well, keep going.”

After your baby is born, the midwifery team will give you any help you need. For example, they can make sure you have privacy for skin-to-skin contact with your baby.

A c-section is major surgery and your partner will need time to recover. It can take at least 6 weeks, but they may have discomfort for much longer than this. They will feel sore and find it hard to move around. They will need help lifting the baby for at least the first 24–36 hours. They will not be able to drive for at least 6 weeks after the birth. 

Read about recovering after the birth.

How you can support your partner at home after a c-section

Here are some ideas for how you can help your partner: 

  • Help them to get in and out of bed.
  • Pass the baby to them for feeds and cuddles.
  • Make sure they don’t lift anything heavy.
  • Remind them to take pain relief on time.
  • Give them emotional support, for example, by listening and offering encouragement. Read more about emotional needs after a c-section.
  • Feed the baby with expressed breast milk or formula.
  • Change nappies.
  • Have skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
  • Take the baby and any older children out for walks with the pram so your partner can sleep.
  • Take them to medical appointments.
  • Make meals or organise a meal rota with friends or family.
  • Clean the house.
  • Do the shopping.

“When my wife was feeding our baby girl, she couldn’t hold her for too long without feeling uncomfortable. So, I would pass her to my wife for feeds and I’d take her back to burp her. It was nice because we were both involved in our baby’s feeding routine.”

Sex after a c-section

Physical recovery from a c-section takes up to 6 weeks. But everyone recovers differently. When you and your partner decide to start having sex again will depend on how they are feeling physically and emotionally. Talking about it might help to reduce any anxiety you are both feeling.

Read more about sex after pregnancy.

  1. NHS. Caesarean section: recovery. www.nhs.uk/conditions/caesarean-section/recovery/ (Page last reviewed: 27/06/2019. Next review due: 27/06/2022)
  2. NICE (2021). Caesarean birth: NICE guideline 192. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng192  
  3. Public Health Agency (2021). The pregnancy book. www.publichealth.hscni.net/publications/pregnancy-book-0 
Review dates
Reviewed: 16 July 2021
Next review: 16 July 2024

This content is currently being reviewed by our team. Updated information will be coming soon.