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Many patients are not able to pass urine after delivery of their baby. The midwives will teach you how to manage a catheter. This leaflet provides information about care of your catheter at home after caesarean section and instrumental vaginal delivery.
A catheter is a small flexible tube that drains urine from your bladder. It is held in your bladder by a small water filled balloon that prevents it falling out. The urine drains from your bladder into a bag.
About one in seven women may need to go home with a catheter after giving birth. This may be due to overdistension of bladder during a prolonged labour. Sometimes the effect of the anesthesia slows down bladder function. The catheter will help to drain your urine until your bladder function returns to normal. This is usually within one to two weeks.
You will either be sent home with a free drainage leg bag or flip flow valve attached to your catheter. This will be discussed with you and will depend on both your medical history and what you prefer.
You will be provided with enough catheter supplies to last you until you have it removed. This will include:
It is not uncommon to have bladder spasms with a catheter. This will feel like tummy cramps. If this bothers you, contact your GP.
Your catheter will be removed at the Trial without catheter (TWOC) clinic at Bolney ward / Lewes Victoria Hospital (to confirm at discharge).
Once we remove your catheter, you will be asked to drink and wait to fill your bladder. You will need to pass urine three times and we will check bladder is emptying with a scanner. If you are passing urine and emptying your bladder adequately then you can be discharged home.
If you are unable to pass urine or continue to retain high volumes of urine then you will be given the option to have another catheter inserted to allow more time, or to learn how to self catheterise.
Your TWOC appointment may take several hours so please be prepared for this and make sure you bring any medication or pain relief you may need.
The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.
Publication Date: November 2020
Review Date: August 2023