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15 Steps Of A C-Section All Expecting Moms Need To Know

Whether it is her first or fourth pregnancy, a woman is always excited about her upcoming bundle of joy. She does not know how her pregnancy will go, but of course she always hopes for the best. She wants a labor that is fast, easy, and as uncomplicated as possible. She does everything in her power to take care of her herself mentally, physically, and spiritually in every way possible. She wants her baby to come into the world and be as healthy as they can.

She may opt for an all-natural labor in hospital or a home birth. She may opt for some drugs, or she may go the whole way and opt for a c-section. The decision may also be made for her if there are complications such as baby is breech, her baby is very big, or other issues. In this case, her medical team may feel she is better off, and safer delivering via c-section than vaginally.

Of course there is also the case of an emergency c-section which is performed if something unforeseen happens and baby’s and mother’s safety is in jeopardy. In this case, doctors really need to look at the big picture to see what the best course of action is. Regardless, if the woman has to have a c-section, she could be feeling a little scared and worried about what to expect. If this is the case, here are 15 step by steps of a c-section to better prepare her for how her little one may be entering the world:

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15 Mom Receives Her Instructions

Sometimes prior to a scheduled c-section, mom is sent instructions on what to bring and what to expect. She will obviously have her hospital bag packed, but will also make sure to be prepared for a longer hospital stay. Things like shaving the pubic area is also a good idea in the shower as the dry shave she will get in the hospital is not pleasant. Some women said they were given a special soap to wash with, told what time to arrive by, and many were sent instructions about making a pre-admin appointment for blood work in advance. Many times it is the anesthesiologist who sends these instructions. It is also important she does not swallow anything. Brushing her teeth is allowed though. Another thing most women are told is to wear comfortable clothes. The instructions will also contain information on when family and friends can visit, and provides details about recovery time and hospital stay. A woman will often also be told not to use any lotions.

14 Dad Gets A Change Of Outfit

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As the doctors are prepping the woman for her c-section, her partner is outfitted in a special hospital gown, mask, cap for their head, and gloves. It is important that they wear this gear as it is for the doctors, so the environment can truly be sterile and clean. After all, like with any surgery when the body cavity is open, any kind of bacteria or germs can fall in and cause infection. To eliminate that possibility, everyone in the operating room must wear protective gear so that the surgery is as smooth as possible and the area remains clean and sterile. The fact that one's partner is there is great too as it is moral support for mom and he/she gets to be present for the hand holding, and encouragement stage as they normally would in a vaginal delivery. It is also a great distraction for the woman if she is nervous about the surgery and what the doctors are doing on the other side of the curtain.

13 Mom Gets Numbed

The first thing that will happen prior to even being transferred to the operating room, is that the woman will be given an epidural or spinal anesthesia to numb the area. This will happen after a routine IV is put into the top side of her hand. It is important that she obviously not feel anything below the waist as not to move or feel pain. Her body will be numb, but she will still be awake for the procedure. In rare cases where it is warranted, she will be given general anesthesia if the team feels it is better she is not awake for the procedure. It is important that she stays perfectly still for the injection, as there is a small risk of partial or even permanent paralysis if she moves. Most women will experience no side effects, however, other than normal surgical healing. After the IV and anesthesia is administered, she will have her abdomen shaved and washed with an antiseptic solution. Afterwards, the medical staff will insert the catheter into her bladder and place sterile drapes over her stomach.

12 Restrained And Blinded

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After she is set up with anesthesia and an epidural, her arms will be tied down and a curtain will be hung across her chest. On the other side of the curtain is where all the action will take place, so to speak! The operating staff do this so she doesn’t have to see what is being done to her abdomen, and let’s face it, not many women would want to witness THAT much medical procedure, and it is also so that she remains sterile and there is little or no risk of infection. There is something called a “gentle C-Section”. In this kind of C-section, the drape over the operating screen is clear. The woman can also ask for a mirror if she wants to see the procedure. She also has the option not to watch the procedure, but to look through the drape to see her baby as he/she emerges. The medical care practitioner can lift baby up so Mom can have a quick peek after delivery.

11 Getting Mom Relaxed

An intravenous needle is given in the woman’s hand with the general anesthesia to help her relax. This will keep her calm during the major abdominal surgery that is coming. It is usually painless and she should not have too many side effects from this. It is important that she stay as relaxed as she possibly can. This is easier said than done. Usually with a planned C-Section it is easier as one knows in advance the steps of what will occur and has all her supplies at the hospital. In the case of an unplanned or emergency C-Section, she must take a deep breath, stay as calm as she can, and ask for help from her partner for support and reminders to pace herself. She will most likely have viewed a video about C-Sections in her prenatal classes, so the best thing to do is remember that the team in place will do everything to make sure she and her baby are safe and healthy.

10 An Unpleasant Trip To The Aesthetician

A catheter is placed in the vagina for later urinary needs, and the pubic area will be shaved for the medical team to have easier access to get baby out safely and securely. The shaving is usually not pleasant, so if she has a chance to do it in advance when she is showering, it is all the better. The catheter should not be painful if the anesthesia was done correctly. She will feel some pressure and then nothing as her body adjusts to having it in there. Of course this will feel a little awkward, but it is important mom remembers that all of this is temporary so that her baby can be born safely and quickly. The health and well-being of mom and baby are always the medical care staffs' top priority. If at any time, she feels pain or discomfort, it is important that she speak up and tell her partner and team so that adjustments can be made.

9 Not Quite A Sponge Bath

This is not always done, but only when it is necessary. However, sometimes the pubic and upper abdominal area need to be further disinfected with antibacterial solution. This is all to prevent infections inside the mother and baby and to ensure the safe and healthy delivery of the baby into the world. The shaving and disinfecting is done carefully. Gloves and all kind of protection are undertaken by the emergency room staff to ensure that no germs or bacteria get into Mom and her baby. She should not feel pain or discomfort during this part of the procedure. Should there be any issues, again she must speak up and let the staff know so they can be alerted to any kind of problem that could be arising. Remember, the emergency room staff are used to how this procedure will unfold, so anything out of the ordinary will get their attention too and the proper steps will be taken to make sure everyone is safe.

8  Boiling Point

The woman’s blood pressure is one of the things that is continuously monitored throughout the procedure. In many cases, is it recommended that women have c-sections due to risk factors such as high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, the baby being bigger than anticipated, or the woman’s uterus not being able to accommodate a vaginal delivery safely. Fetal distress during the pregnancy, or in the case of an emergency c-section fetal distress during labor, a mother’s blood pressure will also be monitored continuously. This way if there is any change, the team knows what to put into play so that baby is born safely and Mom-to-be comes through it safely for both reasons. Other reasons that could cause complications are if baby is in breech or transverse position, Mom has genital herpes, Mom has placenta previa, or she had a previous c-section so measures need to be taken.

7 Mom's Racing Heart

The heart rate is also monitored after the surgery when the woman is in her recovery room. They will look for things like distress or any other kind of irregularities and make sure her body is slowly starting to adjust postnatally to the birth. She will be hooked up to a machine that will make sure all is going well. What medical staff are looking to guard against are excessive bleedings and other internal complications. This is where the pain medication she is given can help with the side effects of her body weaning itself off of the anesthesia. Again, as with everything else, should she feel anything, and the medical staff does not remark upon, it is imperative she let them know so that the Mom can be given the best possible care for her sake and that of her child.

6 Out Of Breath

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Oxygen is monitored as well, as breathing is obviously the essence of life. If Mom cannot breathe or control her breathing, there is a huge problem and there could be more internal issues that were missed in the delivery. There could be internal bleeding. Any kind of breathing issues in Mom (as in her baby), will be taken seriously, and further investigations will be done to make sure her oxygen levels are normal and that breathing is not hampered in any way. Sometimes due to the anesthesia and drugs administered, this could affect her whole body afterwards. Her baby and their health will also be monitored. If Mom’s oxygen suffered during birth, chances are that the baby’s did too, or was even caused by baby’s struggles. After all, the two of them were intricately connected in the uterus so what happens to one can happen to another. Regardless, she will get excellent care.

5 The First Cut

The incision in the lower abdomen and the uterus is the first thing the doctor will do after the woman is anesthetized and the surgery begins. She’ll feel like her skin is being unzipped, like a zipper on a jacket. This unzipping will happen just above her pubic hair line. After that, the doctor will make another incision in the lower part of her uterus. She will either have what is called a “low-transverse incision” where the cut is across the lower part of the uterus. This is used in 95% of c-sections. It is easier as the muscles there are thinner and it is less likely to tear should she want to have a vaginal delivery. The other option is a “vertical cut”. This is only done when baby is nestled lower in the uterus or is in an unusual position. After this is done, the amniotic fluid will be suctioned out and then baby will be brought into the world.

4 Baby And Placenta Are Born

After baby is safely delivered into the world and all is well, the next thing the doctor does is remove the placenta. It is removed by the doctor gently separating it from the inside of the uterine wall. The uterus is also temporarily removed during this procedure to allow the doctor easier access to baby. If there is no further bleeding at the incision site, the uterus is put back into the pelvis. The uterus incision is then sewed up with special stitches that are designed to melt away in several weeks. As long as there are no complications, this part proceeds with ease. If there are any complications or additional bleeding, doctors will take time to resolve the bleeding issues and anything else that comes up before sewing up the incision. As always, the woman will be closely monitored during the operation and afterwards to make sure whatever issues were there are no longer threatening the woman’s and baby’s safety.

3 Closing It Up

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The incision site will be stitched up and may also be covered up with an adhesive strip. This may be done to protect the surgical area from further infection or anything getting inside and causing any kind of problems. The woman will be given instructions on how to care for her incision site, as well as a list of things to be on the lookout for. Should these occur, as previously mentioned, she will need to get to the hospital and get immediate medical attention. Any kind of complication could hinder her recovery. It will also affect baby if Mom is breastfeeding and then has to make other arrangements for feeding and tending baby. The most important thing is that she report any symptom that causes her pain or discomfort. She should never hesitate to report anything she is not sure about to her medical care practitioner. They will be able to assist her in any capacity.

2 Foresight For After

Antibiotics are also given to the woman immediately after delivery. This is done to prevent any infection from forming inside her and any infection being passed to her child through breast milk if she chooses to breastfeed. Due to the fact that a c-section is major surgery, it is important for her to make sure that she takes the time to recover properly. Another thing the new Mom has to look out for is if her incision becomes itchy, fills with pus or turns a strange color. Also, any kind of pain signals that something is wrong and she needs immediate medical attention. This can mean that an infection has started in her body. She may need more antibiotics or a change in the dose. Her doctor will do an exam and know how to help her best. If she experiences fever, any kind of discharge (yellowish green or bloody from the wound), worsening of pain and redness at the incision site, abdominal pain, foul smelling discharge or heavy bleeding, pain or redness in the legs, or shortness of breath, chest pain or cough, she needs to go immediately to the hospital emergency room.

1 The Recovery Process Begins

After the c-section is finished, mom will be transported to her recovery room. She will be given intensive care anywhere from 4-8 hours as needed. She will be monitored (breathing, oxygen levels, heart rate etc.), for the next little while to make sure she is doing well. If she is stabilized and there are no signs of distress, she will then be able to breastfeed her baby immediately and bond with him/her. Her blood pressure will be monitored as well. She will be monitored for any change in her vital signs and her general health. Nurses will take care of her unless there are other instructions given by her doctor for other kinds of care. The nurse will explain to her what is necessary for her recovery. After staying in the recovery area for the time specified, if all goes well she will then be moved to a hospital room.

Sources: Babble, What To Expect, WebMD, BabyCenter, The Bump

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