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What To Expect In A Cesarean Section

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What To Expect In A Cesarean Section

May 24, 2020

If a vaginal birth is not possible, a cesarean birth will be performed.   Once the decision is made for a cesarean, preparations often move quickly.  The majority of the time, an epidural or spinal aesthesia is used so that you may be awake during birth.  More importantly though, there are things you should be prepared for when preparing for a cesarean that are not always discussed as you go into it.

Table Strap-down: Sometimes they will strap you to the operating table. Your arms will be extended out to the sides,, Jesus-style.  This is to limit your movement while your health care team works. If you do not want to have your arms strapped, just ask. The worst they can say is “No.”

Shaking: When the anesthesia kicks in, sometimes the violent shaking begins. It feels like fever chills.  It doesn't help the OR is typically cold. Ask for blankets in the OR, they have them typically in a blanket warmer.   They can place one over your top half during the C-section and then cover your body after you have been stitched up. 

Vomit: There’s lots of cauterizing, squishing, moving of parts.  Mixed with some anxiety that you may be having, a lot is happening behind that thing little curtain.  If you feel like you need to vomit, speak up. They may even have given you a pan ahead of time. Do not try and lift your head, just turn your head.   If you want a washcloth for your head just because you feel nauseous - just ask.  

Pressure: You will feel pressure, pressure from your mind and anxiety and also pressure from after they cut you open. It feels heavy as if you have the whole world on your chest.  This is normal and typically passes quickly, but ask questions. Everyone in that room is working for you to help delivery your child, you can talk and ask questions.  

Gas Pains: Your body has been cut open for the delivery and air naturally gets in.   Due to this, you will have gas pains. And the gas can hurt and feel like its coming from weird places in your body where gas does not belong.  If you’re concerned or having gas, talk to someone on your health care team. They may be able to give you some gas relief medication. 

Numbness: They cut through a lot of nerves during surgery.  You are going to have some numbness around the incision. The numbness may go away or it may not, or part of it will.  About a decade later and there are still parts of my stomach that I can’t feel. Its okay. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.

Swelling: You have had surgery and they pumped you full of fluids. They will most likely  make you wear compression sleeves. It’s all okay, they will monitor the swelling while you are there and you can monitor it as well. Try to keep your feet elevated whenever possible.  The swelling should go down within the first couple days to a week as you sweat it all out.  

Pooping: It’s hard to poop after surgery - figuratively and literally. Add pain medication on top it with the gas, the swelling and the numbness and its just not fun.  Your health care team will most likely give you stool softeners - take them and bring them home with you if you have some left over. .  

Recovery:  Some people have a hard time after their c-section, others bounce back easier.   Each persons journey is different. However, take the medication they give you on schedule. skip something cause your not in pain, it will catch up to you. You just had surgery, don't be a hero trying to not take it.  

Guilt: Having a C-section is not a failure!  It doesn’t mean your are less of a woman or mother, it doesn’t mean you wont have the same bond with your baby.  You have been through a major surgery. A c-section is just as hard as labor if not more difficult in some ways.  It is not the easy way out - it was they way to deliver your baby as safe and as healthy as possible. That was always the goal. 

Stork Helpers tip of less likely to have a c-section with a doula

Want to find a Doula?

If you are in the Cincinnati or Dayton, Ohio area – look no further.  Tamara Kankowski is a certified birth and postpartum doula as well as a childbirth educator.   Tamara provides support to families everyday across the region. Tamara has an affordable birth doula package that includes personalized support during your pregnancy, labor and delivery that continues through your first eight weeks postpartum.  Contact Tamara today to set up a free consultation!

If you are outside the area, is a great resource to find doulas in your area or go online and see if there are Meet the Doula events near you!

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