C-Section. It’s a word packed full of so much emotion for so many women. Most of this emotion is of the negative kind unfortunately. Some women may feel they have somehow “failed” in birthing their child, while others would be worried about the fact that it is, well, actual surgery that could have possible side effects down the road. Other women see c-sections as jarring due to the lack of control they may feel while literally being strapped down and operated on, and still others may feel that though this is a common procedure, what if something goes wrong during the operation for them, baby, or both of them?
These are all normal reactions to have, and other than feeling like a failure at birthing her child (totally false as she in every way still birthed or helped them come into the world), the other things she worries about could definitely be a possibility. Still, this is a common operation and quite safe in this day and age.
The best way in any situation not to panic is, as the saying goes, to be prepared. The way to do this is to ask questions and for her to do her research beforehand. This way if she has to go down this road for everyone’s safety, it is do-able. There are also the women who are super excited to have a c-section. After all, she could avoid tearing and other birth trauma done the old fashioned way which could also be quite a shock to her system. Regardless, having all the information at her fingertips is the best way to go. So, on that note, here are 15 Things Women May Feel During A C-Section:
15 Being Tugged On
It is pretty hard to not feel like a rope being pulled in either direction when a woman is having a c-section. The tugging sensation is quite universal and well, odd. Most of us are used to feeling completely in control of our movements lying down or moving around. Here, a woman is strapped down and the bottom half of her body is frozen so she cannot move. Then, even if she could, she would have to stay still as the doctors basically pulls the baby out of her. Many women describe it as being jerked around and pulled at. Some women have experienced uncontrollable shaking and a painful incision. This is more common when it is an emergency c-section. Still, most women do their best to get through it. After all, they will have a beautiful baby at the end of it.
14 Movement On The Skin
This can be really scary for a lot of women if on top of their fears of c-sections and surgeries they feel movement of some kind. It may not be painful, but it may feel like they could be having pain at any moment. Some have described this feelings as something scurrying over their skin. Some may worry that if they are experiencing this, pain will follow. However, this is not the case. In most instances the anesthesia and pain medication will take care of any kind of pain they will feel and there will not be any additional issues. It’s normal they will be worried, but they need not. C-sections are relatively routine surgeries and most of them go very smoothly. It’s just weird for a lot of women to feel so out of control.
13 Shortness Of Breath
It’s normal that with all the emotional and physical stress of such a major surgery, a woman would experience shortness of breath along with other stress-related symptoms. She could also be experiencing a lot of pressure from the actual surgery, as the doctor is actually pressing down on the top of her uterus to help coax baby out. This sounds scary, but is a necessary part of delivery. Many women will feel this sensation for a few seconds before the delivery and then it will be over. It is all normal to worry however, as it’s not every day someone is pushing down on a woman’s stomach to get a baby out. The best things to do are breathe and think calm thoughts, and remember that this a perfectly normal part of the procedure and that she and baby will be fine.
12 Numbness Even Years Later
A lot of Moms have complained that they experience numbness in the uterine area and in the abdomen not just hours and days, but months and years after the operation. Again, this is something that is not common for most women, though some do experience it. A lot of it is apparently due to how the woman’s body processes the pain medication and handles the effects of the meds on her body. Some women not only experience the uncontrollable shaking that is the result of the medication, but also extreme nausea, vomiting, and other unpleasant side effects. This is so difficult, as many are already feeling a lot of regret at not being able to deliver vaginally. Still, vaginal and c-sections each have their advantages and disadvantages on the woman’ body. The best thing for her to remember is that the most important thing is hers and her babies’ safety.
11 Pain While They Make The Incision
This is something all women in childbirth will experience, whether with vaginal or c-section delivery. However, most of us would not want to feel the pain of open surgery. Though it is extremely rare, some women have said that they have felt the incision pain and other sharp pain associated with the surgery that is a c-section. Pain is unlikely in most c-sections as medical professionals will do everything they can to make sure that the woman is not feeling anything. Sometimes a woman will have an area called a “hot spot” that is difficult to numb. This happens more with epidural anesthesia versus spinal anesthesia. This is where it is important for a woman to let her anesthesiologist and doctor know if she is feeling anything.
10 Paralyzing Shock
Shock is a huge thing a lot of Moms experience, especially if they are having an emergency c-section. It could happen with a scheduled c-section or even with a vaginal delivery, but there is nothing like having only fifteen minutes to prepare yourself to be sliced open and a human being pulled out of you! Sorry ladies, but that is pretty much the case of what a c-section is. The woman has been pumped full of drugs not to feel a darn thing, these drugs can cause shaking, trembling and nausea/vomiting, and then she’ll feel a tugging and a strange pressure, and whoosh lightness then baby crying. They’re out! For the lucky majority, they are frozen enough and do not feel any pain, but for some unlucky ladies they could have the highest epidural dose possible and still feel EVERYTHING.
9 Pressure Of Being Pushed On
Ah yes and the pressure. There is plenty of pressure that Moms-to-be feel whether they are pushing baby out vaginally or else if a c-section is in order. The pressure from a vaginal delivery is obvious. The woman is straining to get that baby out. It may not feel or look pretty, but she will heal in time. After all, it’s nature’s way and the way all of us have come into the world. For a c-section, the pressure is different. This means that even though the woman is frozen from the waist down, she will most likely feel some sort of pressure on her abdomen and stomach as the doctor applies pressure and pushes down on her to get baby out. This is not the most comfortable feeling in the world, but hopefully if she is well anesthetized she will not experience any discomfort.
8 Nausea, Even Vomiting During The Surgery
And then there’s that little old thing called nausea. Yep. It’s a small word that makes a woman feel, well, pretty much like crap. That is what is experienced by many women as a side effect of the anesthesia and other drugs they may have been given to numb the lower part of their body for the c-section. Some will have milder bouts of nausea. Other women have told tales of throwing up strapped down on the operating table. Poor women and well, yuck. Still others experience nausea in smaller or more intense bouts that day of, in the days after due to the side effects of the medication. It’s quite an intense thing. A c-section is surgery after all. It’s a shame that many women are so uncomfortable after taking these drugs, but unfortunately they are pretty instrumental in helping them recover from the effects of the surgery itself.
7 Dizziness If Not Enough Meds
There is also the polar opposite of the nausea caused by the meds. What is that one may ask? Well, that would be the dizziness caused by not having access to enough of the meds during and after the surgery. The thing is, a c-section is a standard surgery, but it does require many days recuperation time and the drugs can go a long way in helping for that. They can help a woman rest comfortably while she is recovering. They can also help her feel good and positive .When she is doing that it is easier to focus on being attentive to baby. She is not caught up in fighting her own physical pain that she has no energy left for anything else. That would be hard on anyone to heal and parent.
6 Reactions To The Meds
C-sections are known as relatively safe operations, but sometimes unfortunately complications do arise. These complications are things like reactions to the medications or anesthesia used during the c-sections, any kind of blood loss or infection after the surgery. There are also occasional occurrences of blood clots in the legs or pelvic organs which could occur. If a woman follows her doctor’s post op orders though, her chances of having any of these health challenges occur is rare. Walking as soon as she is able is a great way to prevent blood clots. It is also good to follow the doctor’s orders about what to eat and to be vigilant about any kind of pelvic pain, fever or unusual discharge. In other words, trust that if her body is doing weird things, she needs to pay attention and get medical help.
5 Scared And Disoriented
For many women they become very disoriented during the operation itself. It’s normal that due to the heavy medication as well as the fear associated with a surgery both before and after, a woman may become disoriented and feel off balance. How can she handle that? Well, at the beginning she may have to just ride it through, but after that, she will usually feel fine. Some women though are totally thrown off by the meds. Add in exhaustion and sleep deprivation, and it is normal to have a little bit of disorientation to contend with in the entire equation. A woman needs to pace herself while recovering. Ask for help where she feels she will need it most, and then let fate guide her the rest of the way in having as easy a delivery as possible.
4 Feeling Completely Out Of It
This is a common side effect after any kind of surgery including a c-section, due to all the sedative drugs a woman may be given, as well as reactions or side effects because of these drugs. She will feel out of it due to it being such a big procedure that it will take a lot out of her. For women who are having an emergency c-section it is even worse. This is due to the fact that she had been in labor for a long time with complications and then had to handle drugs and full blown surgery. Who can blame any woman if she needs a nap at the end of all of this? An important thing to remember is that she can still advocate for herself. If she has pain or discomfort, it is important that she let her doctor and team know and they will do help her stay comfortable.
3 Sore Throat
The sore throat is only in the cases where she needs to be put under anesthesia for a c-section, and a device will be inserted into her throat to regulate her breathing during the surgery to make sure that everything will be going alright. This is called an endotracheal tube. This is only done in emergency c-sections where doctors don't have time to numb the woman, and baby has to be taken out of the mother immediately. She would be put under with general anesthesia so that she would not feel anything. It would be a good thing not to feel any pain, but the bad thing would be that she would unfortunately miss the birth even though the procedure only lasts a few minutes. She could also end up feeling sick to her stomach.
2 Pressing On Her Stomach
This is not supposed to hurt at all, though some women have experienced some mild discomfort or even pain when doctors or nurses press down hard on the stomach. This is done after baby is out to help the stomach go back to regular size. For most women, they will not feel pain if it was a scheduled c-section. For an emergency c-section, the body has been even more shaken and she may be already sore from labor and delivery, so some pain may occur. The important thing to remember is that it is temporary. If she has any concerns or questions, she needs to immediately alert her medical team. This is hard for some women who don’t want to come across as weepy or who are still feeling bad if they did not get the birth they wanted. It is mandatory that she talks about any health concerns she has.
1 Exhaustion Mixed With Exhilaration
Then there is the exhaustion and exhilaration that the c-section and birth itself is over, especially as women who end up going this route often have a long and harrowing labor. Yikes. She may start crying, pass out, laugh, fall asleep on the operating table, or do everything in between. This is also normal, and however her body is reacting to the stress labor and childbirth has placed on it, she needs to go with the flow and do what it takes to help herself recover from this intense and life altering experience. She should never listen to what anybody says she should be feeling. It was her birth experience and now it is her body healing so the best thing to do is be honest to her team about how she is feeling and allow herself to take whatever time she needs to heal.
Sources: VeryWell.com, BabyCenter.com, WhatToExpect.com, Cosmopolitan.com