Getting out of bed after surgery

It is normal to feel a little weak after surgery. Getting out of bed after surgery is not always easy, but spending time out of bed will help you heal faster.

Try to get out of bed at least 2 to 3 times a day to sit in a chair or take a short walk when your nurse says it is okay.

Make sure someone is around to help you in case you get dizzy or weak. Your doctor may have a physical therapist or assistant teach you how to get out of bed safely.

Make sure you are taking the right amount of pain medications at the right time to reduce your pain. Tell your nurse if getting out of bed causes a lot of pain.

Steps to Take

Make sure someone is with you for safety and support in the beginning.

Roll over onto your side, and bend your knees until your legs are hanging over the side of the bed. Use your arms to lift your upper body up so that you are sitting on the edge of the bed. Push off with your arms to help you stand up.

Stay still for a moment to make sure you are steady. Focus on an object in the room that you can walk to. If you feel dizzy, sit back down.

If you have an intravenous (IV) line, use the pole for support while you take small steps.

To get back into bed, sit on the edge of the bed, and gently swing your legs back onto the bed. Use your arms to lie back down on your side, then roll over.

Movements in Bed

You can also move around in bed. Change your position at least every 2 hours. Move from your back to your side.

Try ankle pump exercises in bed every 2 hours by bending your ankles up and down, alternating your feet for a few minutes.

Practice coughing and deep breathing every 2 hours for 10 to15 minutes. Try placing your hands on your stomach, then your ribs, and breathe deeply, feeling the stomach wall and rib cage move.

Use your compression stockings in bed if your nurse asks you to. This will help with your circulation and recovery.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if you have trouble (pain, dizziness, or weakness) getting out of bed.

Update Date: 1/6/2011

Updated by: Ann Rogers, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery; Director, Penn State Surgical Weight Loss Program, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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