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When I was pregnant with my first baby, I BARELY skimmed through information about giving birth via C-section. Somehow in my mind I thought if I didn’t think about it too much then I won’t need one! Well, after a looonnggg labor with my baby boy the doctor told me I did indeed need one.
By the time I was pregnant with my second child for various reasons I needed to deliver again via C-section. The difference between the first and second time around was huge, in a good way! So even if this isn’t part of your birth plan or you are about to get your C-section scheduled, here’s a few tips to keep in mind:
Laboring beforehand can impact your comfort level during the surgery. If you are in labor prior to the surgery, your body has already done so much work! The anesthesiologist will make sure that it’s completely safe for them to operate on you; but because your body is more tired you just may feel more sensation during (tugging, pressure, etc.). When I had my second child, it was scheduled so my body was much more rested and able to handle it better.
You will have NO core strength after giving birth. The surgeon has to cut through your abdomen in order to get to your baby. So all the nerve connections between your abs and brain are disconnected at the incision site. So be very gentle and careful when getting out of the hospital bed (use those bed rails girl!) and out of chairs. It will get better as you heal!
Postpartum bleeding will still happen! It doesn’t matter how you will deliver, your body will still need to get rid of all the excess blood involved in making a baby. The bleeding just might be lighter or shorter, or maybe still the same! It varies from person to person. Some moms just love the mesh underwear the hospital gives you to wear; I personally did not. These are the disposable underwear I recommend. I used these with both of my deliveries and they are so comfortable.
Speaking of underwear…. don’t do what I did and NOT buy high waisted underwear. My first C-section I wore my regular bikini style and it rubbed on my healing incision site and it was super uncomfortable. For my second baby I made sure to buy this exact kind of underwear and it was way better. You can pick out different colors but I definitely suggest black (no explanation needed there!).
You will be in pain for awhile, but it will get better with time. Due to potential pain medications you may be taking when going home, you will be under certain restrictions. Typically, you are not allowed to drive for two weeks and not allowed to carry more than 15 pounds (which is basically your baby, diaper bag and/or car seat). Keep this in mind for enlisting help once the baby arrives (please have a plan BEFORE you give birth)! Due to the possible medications, hormones, weight restrictions, you may have trouble going to the bathroom. During your nesting phase I would recommend buying some stool softener to have ready for your postpartum recovery kit.
Even though recovery isn’t smooth (and what postpartum period isn’t?), remember that women give birth via C-section every day. The best thing you can do is rest and do what is best for you and your family. These comments are based off of my own personal birth stories; so always consult your doctor for medical information and advice.
You’ve got this mama!