There are many unknowns about C-sections. What it is like and what the aftermath! Learn about things women wish they knew before choosing C Section.
It takes 9 months to get to the
stage of giving birth. Throughout those 9 months, you will have learned that
nothing about pregnancy can be predicted. There are things that are going to
happen, but how they happen is not guaranteed.
For instance, you know that you are
going to give birth to the baby. But will the baby be born vaginally, or via a
surgical C-section. In some cases, this will be decided earlier on in the
pregnancy. Some women choose to have a C-section for various reasons, and
sometimes there are medical circumstances that require a C-section. In other
cases, there may be a need for an emergency C-section if something happens
during the delivery.
Either way, there are many unknowns
about C-sections. Here are some things that women wish they knew before having
recovery will be harderthan that of a vaginal birth. Recovering from
delivering a baby is always going to be difficult, given how tiring and
physically exhausting the birthing process is. However, recovering from a
C-section also means recovering from a surgical incision. Unfortunately, that
does mean pain, which requires a lot of bed rest.
It is important during this recovery
to not only rest, but also properly clean the affected areas. Making sure you
tend to the scar wound is really important to help aid a quick recovery. Avoid
touching it too much, except for when cleaning, and change the dressing as
recommended by the doctor.
out of bed is rather difficultafter a C-section. This is because there is
a large scar that is healing in a very tender area. Also, the abdominal muscles
have been through a world of pain and now need some gentle movements. You will
notice this almost immediately and the tightness around the area will last for
However, doctors will provide a
leaflet with instructions on how to get out of bed without aggravating the scar
tissue or putting too much pressure on the abdominal muscles. This is really
helpful to pay attention to and follow the guidelines closely to avoid tearing
anything. With time, it will get easy and more natural to move out of bed.
vagina needs to be cleanedafter a C-section. Even though the baby came out
of the abdomen directly, the vaginal area still needs a thorough clean up. In
fact, there is almost more care and attention paid to this area after a
This is basically a rinse down that
the nurses will do, cleaning it with a peri bottle and patting it dry. This is
to ensure there is no blood left over that might have leaked during the
surgery. Of course, the nurses will handle this with care and respect, although
it can be an unexpected thing for many women and can feel quite strange given
the tenderness around the area.
rest is essential, even though this seems totally contradictory and
impossible. Despite the fact that new moms want and need to attend to their
baby, after having a C-section, they really need to put themselves first.
It is important to speed up the
recovery and heal the wounds properly. This is all part of the new mom juggling
act! After having a C-section, it is really important to reach out to friends
and family for support. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need an
hour or two just to sleep or rest. There is bound to be someone else close to
you who is happy to watch the baby for this time.
the toilet can become a new challenge as well. Throughout pregnancy,
experiencing bowel struggles and constipation from being constantly bloated and
gassy becomes normal.
When a woman has a C-section, she
also needs lots of painkillers to relieve the pain after the surgery.
Unfortunately, these painkillers have a negative effect on the bowels, so
constipation will take longer to go away. This will likely only be the case for
one to two weeks, depending on the dosage of painkillers recommended by the
doctor. As you start needing less and less painkillers, it will become easier
to relieve yourself on the toilet.
is important tooand getting out and about should also become a priority.
Although this seems to contradict the point on resting, it is really about
New moms who have just had a
C-section have found that walking helps to get the bodily rhythms flowing
again. Of course, listening to the body and walking only within its limitations
is a priority.
It can be useful to establish a
routine with the new baby where you go for a light stroll in the morning. Even
just a ten minute walk will do wonders for your recovery. However, don’t be
ashamed to need a rest day every now and then. Just don’t let it become a rest
is normal to shakeafter a C-section. In fact, a normal part of labour is
for women to experience intense shivering and shaking. These shakes are a side
effect of the stress and trauma that the body goes through to deliver a baby.
It is essentially like the body going into shock. Just remember, you will
recover from this quickly.
They can be heightened after a
C-section given that the body enters a state of mild shock during the surgery.
They won’t last too long and are nothing to worry about too much. More or less,
they are just extremely uncomfortable.
skin will feel numbaround the incision scar for longer than you might
expect. For some women, the skin can go back to normal and feel fine within a
few hours, whereas other women can experience numbness around the scar for up
to a week.
The feeling can be likened to the pins
and needles sensation you get on your foot. Therefore, touching the skin around
the scar tissue can be a very strange experience. Although it won’t feel like
anything is touching it, remember not to press too hard or apply too much
pressure. Even though it is numb, it is still susceptible to damage!
muscles are more tender during C-section recovery. This refers to muscles
all over the body. For instance, a simple sneeze will make the abdominal
The muscles around the bladder are
also weakened, from both the pregnancy and the surgery, so urine leaks can
become quite common. This is something that most women experience during
pregnancy as well.
The best way to handle this is to
not put too much pressure on yourself. Be understanding of your body and be
gentle with it. Try not to feel frustrated with how your body is feeling. These
feelings of tenderness and discomfort are only temporary, after all.
doctor cuts the umbilical cordand the partner doesn’t get a chance to; this is true for all c-section cases in the US and only emergency c-section cases in Australia. This is because, given the surgical nature of the C-section, especially emergency c-sections, it
complicates things to have another pair of hands around the area.
For hygiene and safety purposes in
the surgical room, the doctor generally won’t allow the partner to cut the
cord. It is possible to have a discussion early on, if the C-section is
planned, to negotiate the partner cutting the cord. However, this is quite
rare. In the case of an emergency C-section, it will not be an option at all.
operating room is very cold for the surgery. In fact, it is nothing short
of freezing. This is required for the operation and something that needs to be
done by the doctors. It can be hard for the body to deal with this cold, also
considering the shakes and shivers that happen from the shock of delivery.
Despite feeling very cold during the
operation, doctors and nurses will provide you and the baby with warming
blankets immediately after to help get the body temperature back to normal. If
you do need anything else, like a heat pack, the midwives will be more than
happy to provide you with one.
incision wound is anything but pretty, especially during the initial days after.
The scar tissue is stapled and taped and somewhat scary to look at. However, it
does heal itself very quickly.
Even in the first week, there will
be significantly noticeable improvements to both the scar and the skin around
it. Just remember, this is something that takes time and your body needs time
to recover from it. When the area is less tender and the scab starts to scar
over, gently apply some bio-oil to the wound. This will help the scar tissue to
fade more quickly and leave less of a visible mark.
needs to happenafter a C-section. Since there are anesthetics involved and
this is a surgical procedure, you are not allowed to eat after the surgery is
complete. This is because the drugs can trigger the body to vomit, which is
dangerous after a C-section.
Drinking water is generally fine,
but in some cases can cause women to vomit too. Some women have had to wait up
to 16 hours before eating again after a C-section. This is a time to listen to
your doctor’s recommendation and to your body as well. You will know when it is
ready to handle food again. Starting off with plain, bland food is a good idea
to help ease the stomach back into digestion.
is encouraged to take painkillers for this operation. While some women
prefer an all natural birth, in the case of a C-section, having an epidural is
highly recommended by doctors.
Likewise, taking the painkillers
after the operation is also encouraged. It helps to speed up recovery, and
since now there is a baby on the scene, a quick recovery should be a priority.
Many women are hesitant to take painkillers given they are now breastfeeding,
but it is worthwhile. There are, of course, other more natural pain relief
methods to consider.
Drinking herbal or ginger teas,
doing some basic yoga, and getting enough sleep each night will also help to
combat the pain. Doing these will lessen the need for a higher dosage of
painkillers, but they may still be necessary.
like a failureafter having a C-section is something that comes up a lot
for new moms. There are some competition and debate about having a vaginal
birth or having a C-section, the former obviously been the way nature intended
babies to be born. However, having a C-section does not make you any less of a
It is important to recognize these
feelings and address them immediately before they have the chance to escalate
to postpartum depression. Talking to someone, especially a partner or close
friend, is the best thing you can do for both yourself and your baby. Your
mental health is highly important after giving birth, just as much as your
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