C-section tips for dads and partners

Find out how you can help your partner recover after having a c-section, including tips from other dads.

What will happen during my partner’s c-section?

You can usually stay with your partner throughout a planned or emergency c-section. The midwife or operating assistant will give you special clothes to wear in theatre for hygiene reasons. 

Find out all about what happens during a c-section here.

Helping your partner recover after a c-section

While your wife or girlfriend is in hospital, you can be involved in discussions about their treatment and care, with their permission. You should also get the information and support you need. Ask the healthcare team 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.’

Charlie

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 six weeks, but many women find they have discomfort for much longer than this. Their movements will be restricted, the will have soreness lifting the baby and they will not be able to drive for a number of weeks after the birth.

Read about recovery after the birth here.

How you can support your partner at home

Here are some ideas:

  • help her to get in and out of bed
  • pass the baby to her for feeds and cuddles
  • make sure she doesn’t lift anything heavy
  • remind her to take pain relief on time
  • give her emotional support, for example, by listening and offering encouragement
  • 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 her to medical appointments
  • make meals or organise a meal rota with friends
  • 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.’

Brendan

When can we have sex again?

Physical recovery from a c-section takes up to six weeks. However, everyone recovers differently, so when you can start having sex again will depend on how your partner is feeling physically and emotionally. Talking about it might help to reduce any anxiety you are both feeling.

Giving birth, c-sections in particular, can take an emotional toll on women. Read about it here.

Sources

Sources

NHS Choices (2016) [Accessed 15 March 2018] Caesarean section: recovery. www.nhs.uk/conditions/caesarean-section/recovery/

NICE (2011) Caesarean section. Clinical guideline 132, London National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

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Last reviewed on April 24th, 2018. Next review date April 24th, 2021.

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