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Cesarean delivery: Postoperative issues

Vincenzo Berghella, MD
Section Editor
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deputy Editor
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


This topic will review the postoperative care of women who have undergone cesarean delivery and discuss potential sequelae of this procedure. Preoperative and intraoperative issues are discussed separately. (See "Cesarean delivery: Preoperative issues" and "Cesarean delivery: Technique".)


Maternal issues and care in the postpartum period are reviewed in detail separately (see "Overview of postpartum care", section on 'Normal postpartum anatomic and physiologic changes'). The following brief discussion applies specifically to issues postcesarean delivery.

Maternal monitoring — In the immediate postoperative period, vital signs, uterine tone, vaginal and incisional bleeding, and urine output are monitored closely.

Vital signs that may trigger evaluation for a serious complication following cesarean delivery include systolic blood pressure <90 mmHg, heart rate >120 beats/minute, respiratory rate >30/minute, oxygen saturation <95 percent, urine output <30 cc/hour [1]. Hypo- or hypertension can be signs of intra-abdominal bleeding or preeclampsia, respectively.

Routine postoperative hemoglobin testing is unnecessary in asymptomatic patients after planned cesarean delivery, as the information does not lead to improved outcomes [2]. No studies have evaluated such testing after cesareans performed during labor, but routine evaluation of postdelivery hemoglobin is probably unwarranted in uncomplicated, stable patients.


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Literature review current through: Oct 2015. | This topic last updated: Oct 9, 2015.
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