A cesarean (C-section) is a surgical procedure where the baby is delivered via an incision to the lower abdomen & uterus. April is Cesarean Awareness Month and we want to provide some additional support to anyone undergoing a C-section, whether planned or unplanned.
Reasons for a C-section
Some examples of why a cesarean would be necessary: pregnancy with multiples, a breech presentation (where baby is feet first), placenta previa (where the placenta is covering the cervix). Additionally, an emergent situation where baby isn’t tolerating labor well and in danger.
A planned cesarian happens when one of the above situations such as a breech presentation is noted in advance. The pregnant person and medical provider review the risks of delivering vaginally and come to a mutual agreement of planning towards a C-section due to safety. The date of the surgery is determined and pre-surgical instructions are provided, you arrive at the hospital (normally the morning of your delivery) the labor & delivery staff is ready for you.
During an emergency situation where a C-section wasn’t planned and perhaps labor and birth via vagina isn’t going as originally intended, your provider will make an attempt to explain all to you prior to heading to the operating room.
In our experience it is better to be overly prepared and learn about all outcomes even if it isn’t our preference. Should you be in a situation where a cesarean is necessary you will have advance knowledge of what to expect and have a better experience, where you feel in control.
Not a good reason for a cesarean
Evidence suggests that induction or cesarean due to suspicions of a big baby isn’t a good reason for a cesarean. You can read more about this evidence here.
Additionally we do not recommend scheduling a cesarean due to personal or family scheduling issues, or because of wanting baby born on a specific date or with a specific provider. A cesarean is major surgery and we should only consider the intervention when necessary.
5 tips for your cesarean recovery
- Establish a postpartum support plan, we have a free download here completely free and this will help you identify your areas of need as well as what is important for your in your postpartum journey while identifying some needs for the best recovery.
- Assess your home and just like we baby proof everything, consider “post cesarean” proofing your home. What we mean is- do you have stairs? is it a long walk from bedroom to kitchen? If so you want to sent up a little recovery nook in a central location of your home so you don’t over exert yourself and can recover adequately.
- Talk to a CLC or IBCLC in regard to breastfeeding positions with a C-section scar. Your scar will hurt (keeping it real here) and you will have medications prescribed for this, knowing positioning that is comfortable in advance will help as to not further injuring that area and contribute to breastfeeding success.
- Keep your scar dry and clean, which means you shouldn’t plan any postpartum baths. Submerging in baths can contribute to your incision separating, it is best to take showers and make sure the area is immediately dry during your recovery period.
- Don’t toss your body pillow just yet! That pillow which has helped you sleep more comfortably during your pregnancy will also help while you are recovering from your C-section. Getting in and out of bed will be a bit of a task and while you are in bed recovering you want to have as much support as possibly both for sleep and breastfeeding.
We hope that you take the time to be kind to yourself post C-section and reach out if you need additional support or assistance.