Let’s admit it, we have all fantasized about the “ideal” birth. But life doesn’t always go to plan and very rarely will your child’s birth go exactly as you are expecting. You can attend every birthing class, do all your research, but with 32% of Australia’s births delivered by caesarean section, there is a chance yours may too.
If you’re expecting a baby, even if you have every intention of a vaginal birth, it may help you to be prepared for the possibility of a caesarean. Here are a few things that c-section Mummy’s wish they had known before undergoing the procedure.
The process to get to the baby happens pretty quickly
It can be overwhelming and exciting. Make sure your partner has the camera ready to capture this memory.
Having your stomach cut open on the operating table while you are awake takes some serious composure
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are starting to freak out. You are not silly or neurotic, it is a pretty strange and scary thing to go through so nerves are normal! The medical staff will most likely be pretty used to this and have a few techniques that will help to calm you down. Take some deep breathes and think of your baby not the process that is currently underway.
You may feel really nauseas while on the operating table
Again, this is normal. Just mention you’re are feeling unwell to the anaesthetist and there is medication that helps super quickly.
The stitching up process takes some time
Following the operation, the stitching up process will take quite a while. The baby will be checked and then brought to sit near your face and neck while the stitching is underway. Just try and focus on your new bundle of joy.
After the operation, you will most likely be separated from your new bub and dad, but not for long
Following the operation you will be taken to post op, while your baby and the father will probably go to the room/NICU. It is a good idea to clarify what happens at your hospital with the medical staff. The amount of blood coming out of you at this stage may be a little overwhelming but do your best to relax and trust the process. The medical staff will work as hard as possible to get you back to your precious new baby as soon as they can – it may be around 20-30 minutes.
When you get back to the room you will be reunited with your baby
Enjoy some skin to skin time and again try to relax.
Prepare your partner
You have just had major abdominal surgery and your legs will be numb for some time. This means that you are 100% dependent on your partner (and the hospital staff). Of course your partner will be happy to help in any way possible, but giving him a heads up will prepare him for the job he has ahead.
You’ll have a catheter for a solid 24 hours post surgery
It’s weird, but at least you won’t have to get up to go to the toilet (a nice change from having to go every 2 seconds for the last few months).
You may not immediately get a wash
Make sure you have some face wipes and lip gloss handy to at least freshen up your face.
You may be swollen for a while
Your swollen ankles and hands do not immediately go down once the baby is born. Although for most people they will go down quickly, for some it may take up to 6 weeks. Let’s be honest though, you will be so busy admiring your beautiful new baby, you will not even notice a little bit of swelling!
Rest, rest, rest
While most people expect some pain, many do not realise that aching throughout the entire body may occur for weeks following the C-section. Generally, this happens when you overdo it and do not rest enough. Take a long, warm bath, relax on the couch with a cup of tea – rest is key when it comes to feeling better!
Every experience will be different
There are no rules when it comes to c-sections. While some women will be up and about within a few days, for others, the recovery time may be much longer. We are all different so listen to and respect your body.
It’s important to remember, recovering from a c-section will be different for every woman. Factors like elective v emergency c-section will make a difference to your recovery. Usually elective C-sections are performed under spinal anaesthetic where as many emergency C-sections are performed under general anaesthesia. Your wound generally is horizontal and at the top of the pubic hair line and is approximately 10-15cm long. With placenta previa a vertical incision may be necessary.
Research has shown that applying compression to an abdominal wound following surgery reduces pain and increases mobility. Luckily, there are lots of products out there that help this recovery process.
Early mobilisation is not only encouraged but recommended after any abdominal surgery to reduce the risk of deep vein Thrombosis (DVT).
A garment that is tight and restrictive should not be worn for recovery after delivery as it places too much compression on your muscles and may not allow them to work. This ultimately can cause further muscle weakness. One fantastic product the Tinitrader team have come across is SRC Recovery Shorts. They support your wound and surrounding muscles which allows you to be more mobile sooner, subsequently reducing the risk of DVT. Designed in consultation with an obstetrician they assist you to move more freely and make caring for your baby much easier. One of the only garments on the market purposely designed to assist with recovery from c-section, their unique anatomical support panels help with abdominal muscle separation as well as perineal trauma and stitches.
Above all remember this is your pregnancy, no one else’s. It is only natural that people will have a lot of thoughts and opinions about childbirth and there tends to be a certain stigma when it comes to caesarean sections. At the end of the day though, who really cares? Ultimately all that should matter is that you and your precious new baby are both happy and healthy.