Having a C-section is a common delivery method in this day and age. However, it still seems like a total mystery especially if you are having your first baby! Urban Health lists some important facts about C-sections that you must know:
1) By choice or chance?
It is increasingly common for parents to choose auspicious or convenient dates or times to have their babies delivered and the C-section provides that opportunity. Sometimes the doctor may recommend a C-section when you are expecting twins, when the baby is in a breech position, you have had complications during your previous delivery or you have pre-eclampsia (uncontrolled high blood pressure).
C-sections are also done in emergency cases when the baby is showing signs of distress and the labour is taking too long.
2) The scar
C-section is a major surgery where the surgeon makes a horizontal incision of 15 cm across your abdomen to ease the baby out. As it is a major procedure, you will need sufficient time to recover after childbirth.
3) What’s the surgery like?
You will be awake during surgery. An epidural or spinal block stops you from feeling anything from waist down. The doctor will sometimes chat with you as they operate to ease your mind until the baby is safely placed in your arms. When the medicated wears off, you will begin to feel the pain and soreness at the surgery site. This will get better over the next few days.
4) How soon can I get out of bed?
You will probably be confined to bed for the first day or two, depending on your pain tolerance. The nurse will encourage you to move your legs, sit up and start walking as soon as possible to encourage blood circulation.
5) How long will I be hospitalized?
Usually for around five days as the hospital needs to monitor that your wound is healing well, your iron levels are under control and your bandages are cleaned and changed daily.
6) Will I be able to breastfeed and care for my baby?
You can ask the nurse to help you sit up and to bring the baby to you. Place a pillow across your tummy to breastfeed. Your movements will be slower but you can get out of bed and bathe or change your baby by the third day. Get help if you feel you cannot cope as yet.
7) How soon can I begin normal activities?
Your body will need at least six weeks to heal enough to drive a car, exercise or have sexual activity. In those six weeks, it helps to rest and eat well to speed up the recovery process.
8) How to care for my wound?
You can bathe as usual but avoid using perfumed products, creams and lotions to the surgical site for the first few weeks. You may need to continue wearing your maternity clothes or high-waisted clothing that will not rub against your wound in the first few weeks.
9) Will I need a C-section with my next baby?
If your first baby was delivered by C-section, you can still opt for vaginal delivery the next time. However, after two or more C-sections, further deliveries will need to be via C-sections as the scar on the stomach may become weak after two C-sections.
10) How long should I wait before getting pregnant again?
Most doctors recommend two years to give the body a break after the first C-section.
11) Will my stomach muscles weaken after a C-section?
Your stomach muscles will be slack with both a C-section or vagina birth due to the expansion during pregnancy. Ask your doctor for advice on how soon you can begin doing tummy work-outs that can get your abdomen back into shape.