Walking to a better future? Postoperative ambulation after cesarean delivery and complications: A prospective study

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2022 May;157(2):391-396. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.13815. Epub 2021 Jul 17.


Objective: To assess the correlation between maternal mobility after cesarean delivery and postoperative morbidity.

Methods: A prospective study was conducted in a tertiary hospital among patients after cesarean delivery. The women were recruited after surgery and before ambulation. Each participant received an accelerometer and routine instructions for mobilization. The patients were asked to wear the accelerometer constantly. It was collected at discharge. Electronic files were reviewed and patients' outcomes were analyzed. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare groups and a receiver operating characteristic curve was calculated for the threshold of number of steps.

Results: Data were analyzed for 199 patients, among which 107 (54.4%) deliveries were urgent and 90 (45.6%) were elective. The median number of steps was higher for multiparous women compared to nulliparous women (P = 0.035). Patients who developed complications after discharge walked significantly less during their hospitalization compared to those who did not. There was a trend toward increased risk for in-hospitalization complications among patients who walked less while hospitalized. A threshold of more than 9716 steps per hospitalization was found to be associated with fewer post-discharge complications.

Conclusion: There is a significant correlation between the extent of ambulation after cesarean delivery and fewer postoperative complications.

Keywords: accelerometers; ambulation benefits; cesarean delivery; pedometers; post-cesarean section complications; postoperative ambulation; postpartum ambulation; walking after surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare*
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Walking