There’s not a lot you can control when you’re having a baby, especially when it comes to labor. The baby might not want to come out, or may even want to enter this world a little early. Some labors are quick and easy, some are long and complicated; no two labors are the same. If the time comes and you either elect for a cesarean or have an emergency section, then one thing is for sure - you’re not alone. One in every four births occur this way, and with so many types of labor you can choose from as part of your birth plan, labor is no longer something that looks a particular way.
After reading up on countless blogs and articles from moms who have experienced a c-section, whether elected or emergency, we’ve found 5 things that every mom recommends you need to know about c-sections before you go into labor:
Be vocal with your doctors
Explain your concerns, worries, and anxiety when you’re in the OR. Get them to explain what they’re doing if you want to. After all, your body will be curtained off from your head. Ensure that your birthing plan is well-communicated in advance and throughout your contractions if you have not elected for a c-section, but always be aware that doctors may need to intervene if the baby is struggling for any reason. Keep an open mind and express any concerns that you may need reassurance on.
Your baby won’t cry straight away
With ‘natural’ labor, your baby works its way into the vaginal canal and follows many natural instincts following its entry into the world, from taking its first breath, to open its eyes, to latching on. These natural responses, like crying after they’re born can be altered depending on which birth method they are born using. With Cesareans, babies don’t quite realise they have been born and don’t immediately do the natural things babies do, like breathe, cry, swallow etc. But the doctors and nurses will clear their airways and wake them up a bit to help them realise they’re here. A delay, therefore, is completely normal, so please do not worry.
You’ll feel worse before you feel better
A C-Section is considered fairly major surgery, so don’t be alarmed if you’re not feeling great afterwards, or even a few days after. An incision has been made to quickly access your baby, so it’s not surprising you’ll have some healing to do. Expect to stay in the hospital for 3-4 days and can take your body around 6 weeks to completely heal. The healing process can be quite painful, especially when standing or sitting down. As your baby bump disappears and your skin and muscles heal, you need to take care not to put pressure on your lower abdomen, so try and stick to your bed rest assignment!
Listen to your doctor when it comes to recovery
Rest when your baby rests - a great bit of advice when it comes to cesarean recovery. Healing from this major surgery can take a while, so make sure you listen to your doctor about the dos and don’ts post-birth. Lifting heavy objects (including the baby) or pushing yourself too much can cause the incision to re-open, so do your best to take some time out to heal. Apply necessary healing creams, re-dress the cut frequently to ensure it doesn’t get infected and take your pain meds! Another little tip is to hold on to your incision site when you cough or sneeze, but most of all, baby your body.
Your scar WILL heal, flatten and become a badge of honor
Don’t worry too much about your scar. It’s positioned below your knicker line and though it may seem raised, red and sore, it will lighten, flatten and heal completely with time. There are tons of scar reduction oils and creams out there for mums to try to completely get rid of the scar, but it’s more important to embrace your battle scars, see it as a badge of honor for bringing your baby into this world. After all, you didn’t stay in the hospital all that time and spend 6 weeks on bed rest in pain for nothing. You’re amazing, your body is amazing and it’s time all moms saw them that way!
Most of all, enjoy being the mom you’ve become! Though recovery will be slower than a ‘natural’ birth, you’ll get a lot of quality alone time with your littlun and plenty of rest to recuperate, ready to show off your little bundle of joy to the world once you’re discharged.