What to Know About C-Section Delivery
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What to Know About C-Section Delivery

About 1 in every 3 newborns in the US are delivered by C-section. Every woman should learn about C-sections even if they’re hoping for a traditional vaginal birth. It never hurts to be informed and prepared just in case.

Every woman’s pregnancy and delivery is different. But everyone always hopes for a smooth delivery without any complications.

While vaginal deliveries are the norm, certain situations make C-sections a medical necessity.

About 1 in every 3 newborns in the US are delivered by C-section. Every woman should learn about C-sections even if they’re hoping for a traditional vaginal birth. It never hurts to be informed and prepared just in case.

This article will go into detail just why C-sections are needed, and what you should do to prepare yourself in case you need one.

What Is A C-Section?

what is c-section delivery

A Caesarean section is a surgical procedure where the baby is delivered through incisions made on the mother’s stomach and uterus.

This procedure can be a real life-saver in some cases, and a woman can either undergo a planned C-section if the doctors decide beforehand that it would be safer. Or they might undergo a C section as an emergency procedure, in case a vaginal delivery isn’t turning out to be as safe as they hoped. The mother’s health and baby’s health are thoroughly considered before deciding on the method of delivery. In the end, the safest method is always chosen.

What Happens During A C-Section?

This is a major surgery where most women are given anesthesia from the waist down. This is so that they can be awake to see and hear their baby being born.

You shouldn’t feel pain during this surgery. It’s very safe, and very common all over the world. However, you might feel sensations like being pulled and pressure on your body.

After the anesthesia is given, a privacy screen will be placed on your stomach. You’ll have an IV inserted into your arm. The doctors will place an oxygen mask on your face to make things extra safe, all while monitoring your blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate.

The area between your belly button and pubic bone will be shaved and washed. Your labor coach will stand by you at all times, no matter what, during the entire delivery.

Caesarean section delivery

An incision will be made 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) above the pubic hairline, or what is commonly known as the bikini cut area.

Then the doctor will move the stomach muscles to get to the uterus. Then they will typically make what’s known as a transverse incision on your uterus. This special incision is done because it heals better and presents a better chance of success.

The baby is then very gently and carefully pulled out from the uterus. The mouth and nose of the baby are suctioned, and the umbilical cord is clamped and cut.

The doctors will immediately go over your baby to make sure your little one is healthy. Once they are absolutely sure that everything is fine, you will be allowed to hold your baby in the recovery room.

The placenta is always removed from the uterus, and the incisions are closed with dissolvable stitches that take just weeks to disappear.

Why Are C-Sections Needed At All?

Sometimes a C-section is simply safer than the traditional vaginal delivery.

There are a lot of factors doctors consider before deciding on the delivery method.

If your doctors decide on a planned C-section, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion from other health care professionals. However, emergency C sections are only done as a last resort to maximize everyone’s safety.

Your doctors might think about a planned C-section in the event

  • Your baby is in an abnormal position, such as either feet first or bottom first. 

  • Your baby has a birth defect, one example is severe hydrocephalus, making the unusually large head of the baby impossible to pass naturally through the birth canal in a vaginal birth.

  • The mother has a medical condition that makes vaginal delivery risky, such as HIV or genital herpes.

  • The mother has twins, triplets or more, as a C-section is simply safer in these conditions.

  • If detected that the umbilical cord is looped around the baby's neck.
  • If the mother has high blood pressure during pregnancy.
  • Placenta previa is a condition where the placenta covers the cervix, almost all cases of placenta previa calls for c-section delivery as vaginal birth can cause severe bleeding.

Your doctor might decide on an emergency C-section in the event

  • The birth is stalled and the cervix just isn’t opening up enough.

  • The placenta is separated from the uterine wall too soon

  • The umbilical cord has become pinched, which reduces the oxygen supply to the baby, this can cause fetal distress.

  • The baby is in distress. Factors like baby's heart rate can determine increased risk of emergency c-section birth.

  • The baby’s head or body is simply too big to exit through the birth canal. Although this may be detected ahead of time, some may not determine it until labor begins.

How Should I Prepare For A C-Section?

Whether your Caesarean is planned or not, remind yourself that you are giving the gift of life. Ask your doctor any questions about any fears you might have, no matter what they are. 

Among the things that you might have to discuss with your health care provider include professional fees. laboratory procedures such as blood tests, and consent form. And just like any surgery, be ready for the possibility of blood transfusion and research beforehand about your blood type availability.

This procedure is taxing on the body, and you should expect at least a few months to recover from it.

The first thing you should do is talk with friends or family to have someone stay over the first few weeks after the treatment.

You are going to have trouble laying down, getting up, and moving about. It is perfectly normal to hunch over while you walk. Keep everything near the sofa, and near your bed so that you don’t have to keep getting up for the things you want.

Train your brain to keep calm. Simple breathing techniques can go a long way, but there’s nothing wrong with enrolling in prenatal yoga classes or even deciding to speak with a therapist. Use whatever tools you have at your disposal to stay calm and practice your daily habits until your due date.

Prepare lots of pillows for your bed and sofa. Don’t be surprised if coughing, laughing, or sneezing hurts like crazy. This is also normal. Holding pillows against your incision and pressing on it really does help. It might swell around the incision area, and that’s normal too.

Buy cotton maternity bras and cotton pants high enough to cover your C-section.

Prepare a food plan for the first few weeks so you don’t have to force yourself to cook. Stock up on plenty of peppermint tea and pain relief medication such as paracetamol, and essential supplies in dressing your incision wound like antiseptic solution and ointments.

Above all, accept help and take it easy. The most intense activity you are allowed is walking until the swelling, discomfort, and water retention is gone.

Postpartum Recovery

postpartum recovery

Every new mom recovers at a different rate and presents different postpartum symptoms.

It doesn’t matter if you had the easiest delivery on record. It can take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to fully recover. Read our blog post on C-section recovery to know what to expect and for detailed aftercare tips. 

The uterus needs time to shrink back to pre-pregnancy levels. Your body needs to prepare itself for breastfeeding, and your estrogen levels considerably drop after delivery. You should also expect gas pains in the first week postpartum.

Fully recovering postpartum is also key in a higher possibility of vaginal birth after cesarean section for future pregnancies.

Getting as much rest as possible and having a good support system will relieve your symptoms faster. If they don’t, it’s a good idea to consult a health care professional.

Sara Gale

Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Sara Gale

Sara loves traveling and exploring new places with her family. She is mom to 2 lovely children and loves bringing them out on adventures.

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