How Can I Tell If C-section Incision Is Infected

Updated on January 15, 2011
T.S. asks from Langhorne, PA
17 answers

I had a C-section 2 1/2 weeks ago and am still having pain at the incision area. It's a bit red which I'm assuming is because I still have tummy skin hanging over and it's rubbing the incision. I hadn't washed the area since the other day (cuz the Dr.'s said not to and I realized that they probably only meant for the first few days). This is my 2nd c-section (my first was almost 3 years ago) and I can't remember if I still had pain after 2 weeks. The pain is like a stinging kind of pain and I really feel it when I stand up. And also I haven't been very good at taking it easy (kinda hard when you're a stay-at-home mom with a toddler to take care of, luckily my mom has been helping me out)... so I don't know if I'm contributing to the pain by doing too much or not. I have a Dr.'s appt. at the end of the month but know I should go earlier if there is a problem (which I'm not sure if I have one or not).

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answers from San Diego on

My sound funny but, I kept a maxi pad on my incision to keep it clean & dry. I also did the hair dryer after showers.

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answers from Allentown on

Hi, T.:
You say that there is tummy tissue rubbing on it?
Is the incision closed?

Is there some way you can keep the tissue from rubbing the incision site?
What do you clean the incision line with?
Do you have any oozing of fluids from the site anywhere?
Just want to know.

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answers from New York on

if you have any overlap of skin or a tummy it might be staying moist causing it not to heal as quickly as you'd like it to. My midwife told me to fold a sanitary napkin length-wise and put it over the incision to absorb moisture.

Also, don't feel like you can't call your doc. That what they are paid for!

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answers from Chicago on

My incision did become infected. Not all symptoms are the same, but here's what happened with mine. Before I left the hospital it began oozing blood, which wasn't normal. Then, by nine days postpartum, my stomach became very itchy (it felt like the skin was still stretching, if that makes sense). I had redness over most of my abdomen. I took my temperature and I was running a fever of 101. I saw my OB the next day and yes, it was infected.

Call your OB and ask to come in. That way you can be sure, and if it is infected you can start the proper course of treatment.

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answers from Honolulu on

You NEED to keep the area dry... or you can get a yeast infection, from the moisture....
the nurses/Doctor at the hospital, clearly explained this to me.
I had 2 c-sections.
I never had a 'stinging' pain... or redness or oozing, with mine.

But also, you only had the surgery 2.5 weeks ago. Healing, takes 6 weeks. AND you should have had, a follow up check-up with the Doctor, to check your surgery. My follow-up check-up, post surgery, was within 2 weeks, after my surgery. Not 1 month after. For example.

You NEED to take it easy. Or you can also split your stitches, too.
AND, you just had MAJOR abdominal surgery... which a c-section is.
HOPEFULLY, your Husband is helping. Too. Not just your Mom. ????

My Doctor told me, to NOT lift anything heavier than my newborn. For example.

You should have ALSO gotten an after-care information sheet, from the hospital, about how to care for your incision... and information about what to do after surgery and per activities, and for how long etc. DID you get this information????

You ONLY had the surgery 2.5 weeks ago. You NEED NEED to take care of yourself and take it easy. You do not want to, make your recovery worse nor have your incision get infected.

I would, call your Doctor. Tell him/her, about the redness/pain and if this is normal.
I did not have redness... with mine. My incision... was sutured... not stapled.... and the external incision, on my tummy, was sealed with what is called "Steri-strips."
Remember... that there are LAYERS, internally, (which you cannot see), that had to have been sutured up. Your uterus, your abdominal wall, layers of tissue/skin etc.
So you have to.... heed to the after-care of your surgery.... and take care of your incision.
The information fact sheet, which I got from my Doctor/the hospital, explained all this. AND what to look out for, per infections etc.

all the best,

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answers from Kansas City on

My Doctor had me use my blow dryer on mine to make sure it was dry after a shower since I had skin hanging over. It really helped because mine did get infected, and it was a few months before it was really healed. After a shower I would lay down on the bed and my hubby would use the dryer to make sure it was dry.

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answers from Dallas on

Is it swollen, more raised, or oozing anything? It sounds more like normal pain and irritation from washing. The standing up pain sounds normal. My Dr. and the hospital nurses told me NOT to directly wash it for a few months. They said the water rolling down from the shower was sufficient. Otherwise, irritation might happen. They also told me to NOT put any kind of lotion directly on the incision. I think you probably are doing a bit too much. See if you can sit down a bit more, even if it's for 5 minutes here and there. Make sure you're staying VERY hydrated. That helps the muscle pain and healing. My Dr. said when the baby is out most woman don't drink as much and that really hampers the muscle healing.

Like I said, it sounds normal to me. However, I'm no Dr. You might give your Dr. a quick call and speak with a nurse or something, just to be sure.

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answers from San Francisco on

It sounds a little irritated. It could be a yeast infection. I would definitely go see your doctor. The alternative of waiting is not worth it.

I have had three c-sections and have been rushed to the ER twice after being a week home from the hospital. Both times my incision became infected and it took four months each to heal. I won't scare you with the gory details (you can read previous answers from me from previous questions if you are interested) but since a c-section is major surgery, it is nothing to play around with.

Good luck and congratulations on your baby!



answers from New York on

Hi T.,
I had a c-section about 8 weeks ago. My first was stitched and this one was stapled. My incision was pretty sensitive until at least four weeks. I was doing way too much also and could even feel the muscles aching internally. My doctor explained that many layers are stitched internally and that is why they say no lifting and what not. After that I chilled out a little. My actual incision is still red and so were the staples but no infection. Like everyone else said, better safe than sorry. My clothes seemed to irritate it....I used a pad as well to cushion it. Good luck! I am sure you are totally as sleep deprived and as exhausted as I am ; }



answers from Portland on

Doesn't sound infected to me. I've had several abdominal surgeries and had pain, soreness and redness, for weeks after. Redness and a stinging sensation for months. It just takes time for it to heal.


answers from Los Angeles on

I had a C-sec infection and there was swelling on one side the size of a golf ball. If there is no distinct swelling, probably not infected.



answers from Chicago on

It doesn't sound infected to me either, BUT, I'd make an appointment & make sure it isn't. You are a busy Mama & don't need to deal with an infection. I was told by my Dr. to let the shower water run on the area & dry WELL. I also had some oozing, redness, which they told me to use a sanitary pad or guaze pad in the area & change frequently. You also need to relax (sitting down), as much as possible. ( I know hard with a toddler), but try too! After my 3rd c-section, it took me about a month for the area to really heal. The more activity I did, the worse it became, with oozing & such. Congrats on your new addition & take FULL advantage of having someone help you!! :)



answers from Dallas on

My incision didn't heal very well, because my skin hung over too. I think that traps moisture. It was pretty red, and parts of it opened. I talked to the doctor about it, and she told me to keep neosporin on it. I did, and it healed up just fine.



answers from Phoenix on

Call your doctor and see if they want to check the incision sooner. Better to be safe then sorry.


answers from Raleigh on

It doesn't sound infected to me, but you can always call the doctor and ask. When mine was infected (I had a seroma...the skin re-opened...yuck!) it oozed horribly to the point of me needing to wear a pad around the site just to keep it from being all over my clothes! Sorry if it's TMI, but I wanted you to know that it's pretty bad when it is infected. I hope for your sake that it isn't, but honestly, it sounds like normal healing to me!



answers from Miami on

Two and half weeks is not long enough to be completely healed. I know, I'm about to have my 4th c/s in 3 months. If it were infected, you might see pus. You shouldn't be lifting anything heavier than your infant for the first two weeks and ONLY light lifting after that. I was not allowed to drive or go up and down stairs for the first two weeks. After that, only if it was absolutely necessary. My doctor never told me to keep it dry. I had steri strips (tape) over my incision and it got wet every time I showered; I was just careful not to rub that area as it did hurt for some time. I can't recall how soon I was able to remove the strips, maybe 7 days after the c/s, but that was very uncomfortable as the skin pulled with it. It helped with the strips being wet like right after a warm shower. If you have any concerns, you should be in contact with your OB. None of my incisions were ever infected. You need to be resting as much as possible during this recovery. You had more than a baby. You had major abdominal surgery. Don't' over due it or you will delay your recovery time. Plan on being sore for a few more weeks.



answers from Philadelphia on

Please go to the dr. My sister was very sick because of an infection after c section. Always play it safe!

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