What You Should Know about a C-Section

pregnant women walking with her husband

To have a C-Section or not to have a C-Section? It’s a valid question that a lot of women think about during the course of their pregnancy. An elective C-Section (as opposed to an emergency C-Section) is usually done for a number of different reasons. For example, an elective C-Section may happen if the baby is expected to be large in size or if the mother has a pregnancy complication. Other women have personal reasons for wanting a C-Section. Whatever the case, here are a few things you should know about them:

1- Pack smart

If you’re scheduled for an elective C-section, you already know that after the birth you’ll be spending at least 3-4 days in the hospital. Pack smart and think about bringing along little items that can improve your stay in the hospital.

Packing healthy snacks that you enjoy, cranberry juice, or a few favorite food items are some things that many women find helpful. Others bring along a nursing bra and toiletries (you may appreciate your own), a bathroom robe, or other small personal items to make the stay a little more comfortable.

2- Ask for what you would like beforehand

If it is the first time you’re having a C-section, you may not know exactly what to ask for beforehand. Consider asking about things like:

·       Will you be able to breastfeed right away? Will you be able to hold your child in the operating room immediately afterward? Most hospitals accommodate this unless mother or baby require immediate medical treatment.

·       Who will be allowed in the operating room with you? Is it only your partner that will be allowed in the room or can your midwife or best friend also be present?

·       What are the risks of a C-section? And how long is it expected to take?

3- Pain advice and moving around

If there is one piece of advice given by women who’ve had a C-section, it’s this: take all the pain medication your doctor recommends. Since C-sections are a major operation, pain relief will be a must.

Being pain-free means you’re able to get out of bed earlier and move around (which reduces the chances of developing a blood clot).

4- Continue your healthy eating habits

During your pregnancy, you may have stuck to a healthy diet that includes

  • proteins,
  • carbohydrates,
  • lots of fruits and vegetables, and
  • prenatal vitamins.

After delivery, don’t stop your healthy eating habits. They’re just as important now as they were before.

Sticking to a healthy diet gives you a better chance of having a speedy recovery. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, your child then it’s twice as important. If you’re not able to get your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals, then consider adding dietary supplements to top up your nutrition.

5- The recovery may take longer than you think

Although most women spend about 3-4 days in hospital following a C-section, the recovery process can actually take longer than you think. Remember that a C-Section is a major abdominal operation so, like any major surgery, healing takes times. That means expect the recovery to take anywhere from 4-6 weeks before you’ll feel back to normal.

6- Having a C-section with one child does not mean you have to have a C-section with every child

Depending on the reason for having a C-section, it is not an automatic assumption that if you have one C-section all subsequent pregnancies have to be C-sections. Many women go on to comfortably have vaginal deliveries following a previous C-section. But speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about this.

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