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15 Eye-Opening Truths About C-Sections

When it comes to delivering the baby, having to do it by cesarean section isn’t something most people wish for. However, if it happens that way, it does not need to be a scary experience. Becoming informed about what will likely happen in the delivery room can help you feel prepared for anything that might come up when bring your baby into the world. Even if he doesn’t arrive by the traditional vaginal delivery you had planned for all along.

Whether your C-section is planned or unexpected, you can prepare for either situation ahead of time. During your prenatal appointments, ask your doctor as many questions as you can think of, on what to expect in the event that you have to deliver your baby by a C-section. You just might find out you can even have some input in a few of the decisions that will be made. Having knowledge is power, and we want you feel as powerful as possible when it comes to bringing your baby into this world.

During a C-section, things can be move very quickly and leave you feeling confused and helpless. Just keep in mind that your health and the health of your baby is everyone’s priority concern. They want your delivery experience to go as safely and successfully as possible.

Babies delivered via cesarean section are on the rise. To help you feel more prepared about what could happen during your baby’s arrival, we are sharing 15 truths about C-sections that may be eye-opening for you.

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15 You Won't Be Left Alone

If you end up with a cesarean section, you may believe your vagina should be off limits since they are basically cutting the baby out of your stomach. The truth is, however, that you will still experience vaginal bleeding. Your body has been pumping extra blood for over eight months, and that blood has to go somewhere. Tell your doctor if you are not experiencing any bleeding.

At some point during your hospital stay, a nurse will likely come in and wash your vagina. She will simply use a peri-bottle and rinse you down to clean up any blood that you may be passing after surgery. It will happen as often as needed, and you might even be thankful for the extra care since you won’t want to be doing too much after your C-section. Most mom have bleeding for at least six weeks, but for some it can last longer. Patients should refrain from using tampons, and rely only on pads during this time.

14 Shake, Rattle, And Roll

Uncontrollable shivering or shaking after delivering a baby can happen after either a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section. It can also happen with or without an epidural. It’s more common to hear of it happening to women during a C-section, and perhaps it’s a combination of the cold sterile operating room, adrenaline, and IV fluids that bring it on. The severity of the shaking depends on the condition of the mother. It can last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes.

There are a variety of things that can cause a new mom to shake. IV fluids can bring on the shakes. They are colder than the temperature of the body, so they make you feel cold. Hormones, especially adrenal hormones can also cause shakiness. After childbirth, hormones and fluids shift within the body, causing it to react by shivering uncontrollably. Deep breathing and warm blankets often help reduce the shaking.

13 Feel A Tug

During a cesarean section, you will receive regional anesthesia, like an epidural. You should never feel any pain during it, but you will feel some sensations.

Many moms report feeling tugging and pulling. This is from the doctor removing the baby, or manipulating the organs. It’s usually a short, but intense period of the birth, and your doctor will most like likely warn you before it happens.

Even though you won’t feel pain, you will still feel movement. You might even feel like something is scurrying across your skin, as the doctors begin the incision to remove your baby. It isn’t an uncomfortable feeling, just a strange one.

The anesthesiologist will test and retest to make sure you are comfortable, and not feeling any pain before beginning the procedure. Be sure to be vocal with your doctor or anesthesiologist throughout the delivery. They can let you know if any feeling you are having is normal or not.

12 Freezing Delivery

Operating rooms are notorious for being freezing. The temperature is kept fairly low for a variety of reasons. The colder air helps to maintain equipment and it keep supplies sterile. Another reason it’s kept so cool is for the comfort of the nurses and doctors. They are standing for an extended period of time under warm OR lights, clothed in sterile gowns. This combination can make them quite hot rather quickly.

Even though your surgical staff wants to avoid being sweaty and hot while delivering your baby, your comfort is their priority concern. Be sure to let your doctor or nurse know how you are feeling. If you are too cold, they can provide warm blankets or even possibly turn up the thermostat in the operating room for you. And keep in mind that you aren’t stuck in there forever. The average C-section only takes about an hour, so you will back in your room, and in control of the thermostat, in no time.

11 Fear Of Sneezing

Let’s face it, a cesarean delivery is a major surgery. The surgeon will typically make an incision just above your pubic bone, at your bikini line. After cutting through that first layer of skin, he’ll cut through fat, muscle, and tissue. Each layer he cuts through is held back with retractors, so he can work on the next. Eventually he’ll get past the abdominal wall, and can see the internal organs including the uterus. He’ll then cut into the lower end of the uterine wall, where the baby’s head is at, and puts his hand in to gently ease that baby out.

After delivering the baby and placenta, your doctor will suction out excess blood and fluids and stitch you back up. He will use dissolvable stitches on each layer of tissue, and staples on the outermost layer of skin.

Because of all of that work on your stomach, any uncontrolled movements will hurt. Sneezing, coughing, and even laughing can leave you with pain like you’ve never felt before.

Using a pillow to apply pressure on your abdominal when sneezing or coughing can help tremendously. Try to relax and keep your stomach as still as possible will ease the pain a little. You can even try drawing your knees up while holding a pillow on your incision for extra stability.

10 Painful Bowels

Experiencing your first bowel movement after having your baby vaginally can be rather frightening. But pooping can be a major problem post C-section. It’s hard to push when your stomach is feeling so tender and sore. The tenderness combined with possible constipation is a very unpleasant result. A cesarean section is a major surgery that requires anesthesia, and constipation may occur as a result.

After your surgery, it’s wise to start with fluids and clear food before eating a more normal diet. In fact, you probably won’t be allowed to have any solid foods until you have passed gas. Doing so is a sign that your intestines are beginning to function normally again.

When you are attempting a bowel motion, it can be helpful to apply gentle pressure to your incision area with the palm of your hand. If you begin to experience signs of constipation, be sure to mention it to your doctor. They can recommend stool softeners or even a suppository to help you along.

9 Scary Scar

You might be surprised to hear that a C-section scar is only 4-6 inches long. The type of scar you end up with depends on many things. In 95% of C-sections, a doctored will use a low-transverse incision also called a bikini cut. It results in less bleeding since it’s the lowest, thinnest part of the uterus. A vertical cut, known as a classical incision, is only used for specific cases such as an emergency delivery or if you have a scar already there from a previous surgery. A vertical incision takes longer to heal and can be more painful.

It’s important to follow your doctor’s advice to help the incision site to heal. Be sure to keep the area clean, and even allow it to air out every once in a while. Wearing a loose gown at night is sufficient enough to allow air to circulate. And make sure you are keeping all of your scheduled doctor appointments, since missing only one may result in a funny looking scar.

8 Gas In Your Shoulder?

Cesarean section is the one of the most common surgeries among women all over the world. We all know that if we have one, we are going to have pain, but many of us may be shocked by the gas pains we experience after delivery. You might feel intestinal spasms as a result of air becoming trapped in the abdomen during surgery. This pain often travels up the chest and causes pain in the shoulder, typically the right one.

Although it will be painful in the incision area, you will find the most relief from the gas pains by moving your legs around while in bed. Your doctor may also recommend taking simethicone tablets such as Gas-X to help alleviate some of the gas and bloating. Prior to surgery, eating a diet that consists of foods that are easy to digest is also a good idea. Yogurt and pasta soup are both great choices of foods that help reduce the amount of air in the abdomen and intestines.

7 Dad's Duties

Usually when delivering a baby, the mom gets all the attention and rightfully so. She’s doing the heavy lifting, while dad’s job, still very important, is to mainly offer her support during labor and delivery. Dad’s turn to shine usually comes in when it’s time to cut the cord. It’s something dads look forward do and is kind of symbolic in the baby not just belonging to mom anymore, but to both of you.

During a C-section, there is a good chance that Dad won’t get to cut cord. It depends on each person’s hospital policies, but many hospitals don’t allow it because they cannot have Dad approach the sterile field.

Usually your doctor will discuss this step with you and will often give Dad the choice on whether he wants to cut the umbilical cord. Some decline because your stomach is still cut wide open at that point, and they don’t want to witness that. Even if he chooses not to cut it, or isn’t allowed, Dad is often the first person to hold that baby, so he will still be involved and have a very important role.

6 Numb Tummy

Most women will experience some numbness or tingling around their incision scar after having a C-section. This is common and is very normal. The area around the scar can feel extra sensitive even after the scar is completely healed. The numbness is often caused by the after effects of an epidural or spinal. It can also be caused by nerve damage from where the belly was cut.

Some women may regain feeling in about 4-6 weeks, but others may have patches where feeling is never regained. Most women report sensations returning a few months after surgery, although the scar itself may remain numb indefinitely. In addition to the numbness, your incision site may become itchy, so it’s important to be aware of how hard you are scratching so you don’t cause damage to yourself.

To help regain feeling in the scarred area, there are some methods you can try. Keep in mind though that every woman’s body is different. Skin, muscle, age, and even the type of C-section you had all play a part in the recovery process. After getting the ok from your doctor, being some core strength training. Also, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Some supplements may also be beneficial, such as Evening Primrose Oil and St. John’s wort, but check with your doctor before adding them to your daily routine.

5 More Than A Pinch

Over the years, a spinal block has become the preferred approach anesthesia in C-sections over general anesthesia. There are more advantages to having a spinal block such as allowing the mother to be awake during the birth of her child. It also reduces the baby’s exposure to the drugs, and reduces the risk of maternal complications. However, like any procedure, a spinal block during a cesarean section has its side effects as well.

Sometimes, the medication travels higher in the spinal cord than intended. This causes mild respiratory and circulatory issues such as shortness of breath or weakness in the arms and shoulders. It can be scary, but not life threatening.

Back aches can also be related back to spinal blocks. It’s unclear if it’s specifically the spinal that causes the ache, but it might come from the spinal needle being inserted through all the layers of skin. The insertion itself is often quite painful, usually hurting more than the “pinch” they often claim you will feel. However the numbing affect it provides is worth it.

4 Moving Both Fast and Slow

The time it takes to have your C-section varies with every woman as a lot of factors come into play. If you have a n emergency C-section, it only takes about two minutes from when the doctor makes the incision to when he pulls the baby out. In a non-emergency, the cesarean birth will take approximately 10-15 minutes. The additional time in the operating room is used for delivering the placenta and stitching the mom back up. Altogether, an average C-section takes about an hour.

It may seem like the baby is out in a matter of seconds, but you are left in there forever before finally being wheeled back into your room. However, it isn’t nearly as long as it feels and during the time you are still on the operating room table, important things are happening with your baby as well. Sometimes the baby can be placed immediately onto the mom’s chest for skin-to-skin contact, or he may need to be checked over by a pediatrician. Then the baby will be taken to be weighed, measured, and cleaned. Some women are able to attempt breastfeeding right on the operating table, but don’t worry if you are not able to since it doesn’t take much time to be returned to your room where you can try in privacy.

3 Hair Not There

As part of the surgery prep before a C-section, shaving the pubic area is almost always done. It gives the doctors a cleaner area to make the incision. You can ask your doctor if he plans on shaving you before the surgery so you can be prepared. You are nervous enough and don’t need too many unexpected announcements putting you even more on edge. You can also ask him if you can do the job at home ahead of time to make if more comfortable for yourself. Be prepared for him to say no though, as shaving at home could cause you to get an infected ingrown hair which puts you at a higher risk of getting a post-surgical infection.

If you do end up getting shaved before your surgery, it will likely only be 2-3 inches around where the incision site will be. The nurse will be quick and careful so there is nothing to worry about.

2 Dinner And A Show

During your C-section, it may feel like you have a huge audience just waiting for the show to begin. While there may be more people in a C-section delivery than a vaginal delivery, every person has a purpose there.

Your OBGYN will, of course, be there to perform the cesarean section. Usually she is a familiar face since you will most likely have seen her throughout your pregnancy. An anesthesiologist doctor and even sometimes nurse will also be in the room. They will administer the anesthetic medication and monitor your vitals. A number of nurses may also be in the room to assist in the delivery, help keep an eye on your vitals, hand over instruments, or relaying information to the parent’s family members. You may also have a pediatrician in the room along with her nurse, waiting for the baby to be delivered so they can do the assessment on the newborn.

Even with all of these people looking on, once your baby is delivered and you lay eyes on him for the first time, the only people you will notice in the room is your newborn and your husband. Everyone else just kind of fades away.

1 Get Up And Moving

After delivering your baby via C-section, the nurses will likely encourage you to get up and walk as soon as you can. It might be more difficult to do so on that first day since you will likely have a catheter still inserted, but most doctors would like to see their patients up and moving around within 24 hours following the surgery. Moving around should help speed up the recovery process, and can also help prevent constipation. The increased activity will also aid in preventing potentially dangerous blood clots.

The first time you get out of bed after a C-section might be the most painful event. You might even feel as if you are pulling your stitches out, but the risk of that happening is pretty minimal since your skin has been immensely stretched out. Don’t be afraid to ask for additional pain medication if trying to rise makes the pain unbearable.

Sources: Web MD, Baby Center, What to Expect, Live Strong

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