Lifestyle concerns


  • Avoid heavy lifting (nothing more than 10 pounds), lots of bending and twisting for the first six to eight weeks after surgery
  • You are encouraged to walk.
  • As you feel able, gradually become more physically active. You have no restrictions, unless your nephrologist gives you specific instructions.
  • If you are not used to regular exercise, talk with your regular doctor about how to get started.

Returning to work

  • In general, you should be able to return to work six to eight weeks after surgery. Your return to work will depend on what you do, how well you are recovering and what your employer expects.
  • If you have or had complications (problems) after surgery, your return to work may be delayed. 


  • Once your new kidney is working, you may return to your normal diet. Because your medicines may increase your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, eat foods low in fat and calories.
  • If you have diabetes, continue your diabetes diet and eat on a regular basis. 


  • Avoid major travel for the first few months after surgery.
  • Always keep extra doses of your medicine with you when you travel in case you are delayed or miss a plane, train or bus.
  • Keep your pharmacy's phone number with you.
  • Never pack your medicines in your luggage. Always carry them with you so they do not get lost or exposed to temperatures that are too hot or too cold.
  • Mail-order pharmacies can ship your medicines if you are away from home for a long time.
  • Carry a letter (or prescription) from your doctor about your medicines in case you have any problem with customs when traveling overseas. You may be able to fill your prescription in a pharmacy at your travel destination.
  • Prevent getting an infection. wash your hands often and well, especially before eating. This is even more important the first few months after your transplant when you are taking higher doses an anti-rejection medicine.


  • After surgery you will have more energy and will feel better. You can continue sexual activity when your incision has healed and when you are comfortable with sexual activity.
  • If you are a woman thinking about planning a pregnancy, talk with your nephrologist before you become pregnant.
  • If you are a man, you should not father a child while your medicines are at their highest strength.

Family relationships

Kidney failure and kidney transplant can put stress on your entire family. Everyone is affected. Be open and share information with your partner and children. You will need support and your family will, too. Ask your social worker for resources if you need help.

Source: Allina Health Patient Education, Kidney Transplant Information for Recipients and Donors, renal_ahc_93498
Reviewed By: Allina Patient Education experts, including the Transplantation Department of Abbott Northwestern Hospital
First Published: 05/15/2009
Last Reviewed: 05/15/2009

  • If you received disability benefits for kidney failure, you may no longer qualify for disability after receiving your new kidney.
  • You may talk with the transplant dietitian for information about a healthful, balanced diet.