Full body swelling...normal after a C section? — The Bump

Full body swelling...normal after a C section?

My GF just had a C-section last Monday and was finally discharged from the hospital on Friday but she is swelled up big time. I don't think she can put on a pair of shoes even. The doctor told me that its normal for women that have C-sections but my Aunt who is a nurse says if the swelling doesn't go down, it could cause her blood pressure to rise which could lead to something severe as death. My GF has been downplaying the whole thing but knows she is swollen way more than she should be. 

I was also told that some women will sometimes look just as big after pregnancy than when they were pregnant due to the massive swelling. Several people have told her to try and stay off her feet as much as possible and to elevate her legs higher than her heart by sitting in a recliner type chair or piling up a bunch of pillows.

 Anybody experience this kind of swelling and how long did it last and did you do anything special to get rid of the swelling. My Aunt was telling me to take her to the ER but she kept saying this was normal. It just doesn't look normal. Her feet and legs look like water balloons. I thought there might be a way to drain that excessive fluid from her body but if its normal then I don't know what to tell her then. 


Re: Full body swelling...normal after a C section?

  • I think it depends on the amount of iv fluids you receive.  I've had 2 c/s.  The first was perfect and I looked great right after, no swelling.  The second I hemmoridged and received lots of iv fluids and blood transfusions, I was very swollen for at least a week after, I looked bad.  I was told that was normal for what I had been through.

    If she had a perfect, uneventful c/s and is still that swollen I'd be concerned too.  Has she called her dr about it recently?

  • I agree with pp.....it's hard to say w/o knowing her history and the details of her CS......did she swell quite a bit during her pregnancy? DId IV fluids run for a full 24/48 hours after her CS or did they heplock her IV fairly early? Any complications?  I think you should definitely convince her to call her OB.   Peripheral edema at 7 days pp can definitely be normal (depending on the amount), especially for CS mamas, but it can also indicate other issues. Always better safe than sorry.

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  • Swelling is normal, but that does sound excessive.  What about calling the on-call nurse or doc just to get some added reassurance? 

    On a separate note, I went to the ER a week after DD was born for a severe headache and I didn't wait long.  They were also worried about blood pressure issues.  If you do have to go, they'd probably make her a priority because she just gave birth, so you wouldn't have to wait around terribly long.

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  • I had swelling passed my knees and my whole body was swollen looking.  It took a week or so to get rid of it completely.  She should call her dr. for them to monitor it.  I had to be monitored for a while because mine was so bad.  Turned out that is just how I react, but she should talk to her dr.
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  • I swelled so badly that it hurt to walk it took me a full to weeks to go down, my feet and legs were so huge, my doctor told me to stay off my feet as much as I could and elevate and drink TONS of water.
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  • I had TONS of IV fluids before/during my c/s. It sucked big time. I was huge after. I was actually shocked the first time I look at my legs. I was terrified they would stay that big!! Luckily the swelling went down fairly quickly.

    I was a sweaty, pee-ing mess though, but it got the job done.

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  • Ditto what PPs said. I was quite swollen after my c/s but I had an emergency situation and I believe I ended up getting 7 liters of IV fluid during the whole process so I was quite overloaded. It took me about a week to 10 days for it to go down. Since I was walking around the morning after my c/s, there wasn't too much concern.
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  • I swelled big time after my c-section.  I couldn't even get flip flops on. The amount of swelling will likely depend on how long and how much fluids she received during labor/delivery. After my discharge from the hospital I was told that it is completely normal for swelling to continue up to 3 weeks.  

    I would continue to monitor it.  Make sure she's hydrating herself too, as this can help get rid of the excess fluids.  She can try to put her feet up when she's sitting, but I know it didn't help in my case. Short walks helped me the most, though nothing but time really got rid of the excess fluids.

    Your aunt sounds a bit excessive, but if your GF begins having shortness of breath or you/she is concerned you could call the OB to verify when/what should be concerning.


  • I had an eight pound baby and came home from the hospital two pounds lighter than I was right before she was born.  I don't think I was as bloated as your friend, but I couldn't wear any shoes other than flip flops and from what I remember it took at least a week to drop the water weight.  I drank a lot of water in the hospital and at home (as much to avoid constipation and help with BFing as anything), but other than that I didn't really do anything to lose it.
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  • Swelling is normal after the c-section --- it will take some time for it to go away -- most likely your GF will sweat it out when she sleeps. She should be walking around to help get rid of the fluids and avoid any clotting. I also recommend acupuncture --it did amazing things for me after my c-section. I only need 4 sessions and wow, felt soooo much better, swelling was down/gone and I was no longer severely anemic. 
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  • I had some major swelling after I got home from my c-section. I seriously had elephant legs and feet. It was painful because my skin was pulled so tight! I'm pretty sure the swelling was going down significantly by 7-10 days post partum. I was told it was very normal.

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  • my feet were very swollen for 2 weeks ....scary looking and I had some swelling in my belly and thighs..... not sure though as I did have complications....
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  • I swelled horribly after my c section, i was bigger and weighed a bit more than before I had the baby.  I didn't even swell during my pregnancy. The whole body swelling lasted about a week (longer actually), but my legs stayed swollen for a few weeks.  I remember always having sock lines.

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  • I was so swollen after my c-section that I weighed the same as the day before the baby a week after!! It took 3 weeks for the swelling to subside. It was BAD! I would suggest she call the OB, just to be safe.
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  • I had the same thing.  Swelling was much worse post c section than at the end of pregnancy.  My belly was as hard as can be from the edema.  My legs and feet were enormous.  It was gone by about 2 weeks.  During that time, I constantly felt clamy and sweaty. It was awful. I was so relieved when it went away.  

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