What to expect - having a planned C section
Are you booked in for a planned c-section and feeling nervous? Don't worry you're not alone. Even though you are having an elective c-section it can still feel daunting and overwhelming. Whether it’s your first, second, third or fourth c-section, it may be hard to come to terms with, depending on the reason. Try to stay calm, surround yourself with positivity and prepare as much as you can.
You’ve got this mama!
I had an emergency c-section with my firstborn, and an elective one with my second born and both were completely different experiences. I had to let go of the plan and dream I had in my mind about the type of birth I wanted and begin to focus on getting my baby out safely. It took me some time to accept that I wasn't going to get the water birth I wanted and that I was never going to experience a vaginal birth.
Reasons your doctors may be advising a c-section?
- You already had one or more c-sections
- You have elected to have a c-section for personal reasons
- Your baby is in an abnormal position
- You are carrying multiple babies
- You have “placenta praevia“
- You have a high-risk pregnancy
- You have an infection that could be passed to your baby during a vaginal birth
- You or your baby have other medical complications
Whatever the reason for your C-section make sure you discuss all your options with your care team. You can request to still have your baby brought straight up to your chest for skin-to-skin, and have bub stay with you while you are in recovery so you can bond and if you are choosing to feed you can let baby try for the firs latch. This may depend of how things unfold during your surgery and also how many team members are. on hand to assist. BE sure to tell your support person your wishes so they can advocate for you if you're a bit out of it.
Ways to prepare before a planned c-section:
The recovery time after a c-section is between 4 - 6 weeks, so it's important that you have plenty of support when you get home with baby. Simply things like sitting up, lifting anything, cleaning and showering can be a huge challenge are
Some things I would recommend you prepare beforehand are -
- Batch cook a bunch of meals to store in the freezer - you won't feel like cooking trust me.
- Organise for a family member or friend if possible to come help afterwards with the household tasks
- Have your house thoroughly cleaned (ideally by someone else! )so you won’t have to worry about it for a while after you get home.
- Make sure you have lots of VERY high-waisted soft undies to wear after your c section. You don't want anything to be rubbing on your wound.
Let’s talk about the medical stuff
You’ll have to fast for a minimum of 6 hours before your c-section this is due to the spinal block they will administer during the procedure. You may also need to take off any jewellery and possibly make-up and nail polish before you enter theatre.
Compression stockings will also be given to you to reduce the risk of blood clots in your legs, and trust be you will need someone to help you get these on! Then you’ll be prepared for the anaesthetic, or spinal block. IV lines and a catheter in your bladder will be placed and will stay in for the duration of the c section and also the recovery. The catheter should be removed when you are able to get up and about again and regain feeling.
A screen is put in front of you so you can’t see what is happening. Your partner or support person can usually be with you during the birth. so be sure to ask about this beforehand. You will also usually have a midwife in the room who will be there just to support you and will talk you through what is happening step by step and monitor you.
If the baby is well, your partner or support person may be asked if they would like to cut the cord and then you may be able to have skin-to-skin for some bonding time! Normally this consists of baby being put on your chest since you will still be getting closed up.
Now, the beginning of the recovery..
If you choose to breastfeed, your midwife and partner/support person will be able to assist you with breastfeeding once you go to the recovery room.
Most hospitals will keep you in for three to five nights depending on your. location and if you go public or private.
You will need plenty of time to recover after a caesarean. Plan to have as much help as you can get once home in the weeks after and remember not to over do it. If this is your second or third born it can be challenging trying to avoid picking up your toddler or older child but it's important to try and help them understand and find other ways to sneak cuddles in when you can.
You've got this! Your body has already done amazing things carrying your little one all this way - you can do this!
February 08, 2023 — Ruth Quinn