Planning a C-Section? Here’s What You Can Expect

Everything you need to know if you plan on having the procedure.

planned c-section
Image: Lotte Meijer via Unsplash

For those of us who are pregnant or are trying to be, it’s vital that we get or have all of the necessary information we need to make sure our baby is safely delivered, grows and develops well. Growing is one thing, delivering is another. There are two ways that you can give birth: through the vaginal canal and the c-section. There are many reasons that you may choose a caesarean section for your birth plan. It could be the way the baby is positioned, an emergency, or your own personal preference. If you are planning a c-section, there are some important things you need to know. We’ve done some research to find out what the most important planned c-section FAQs are. Keep reading for more! And as always, speak to your doctor and get their okay.

planned c-section
Image: Mustafa Omar via Unsplash

Here’s What You Can Expect with a Planned C-Section

The Types

If you are planning on having a caesarean section, you might not know, there are actually two types of them. First things first, they do not differ in appearance. The cut and then the scarring will look exactly the same no matter what you choose. This is because according to Raising Children Australia, the incision is made on the uterus, not the outer skin. FYI, you should ask your doctor which type you had before you leave the hospital so you have all your information if you plan on having more children.

  • Lower segment caesarean: The most common, but newer type. A horizontal cut is made across the lower part of your uterus along your bikini line. It has an advantage because it usually heals well and has fewer complications for future pregnancies.
  • Classical caesarean: This is when a vertical cut is made on the uterus. It is not common anymore and is only done in emergencies now. In some cases, if your baby is premature or lying sideways, or if your placenta is lying very low, this is when you have this type of procedure done. It is risky for future pregnancies and births. There is a risk your uterus will tear.
planned c-section
Image: Erol Ahmed via Unsplash

Before Your Procedure

The key things you need to know is that some fasting will be required before this type of birth. No food or drink for around six hours before the surgery, according to Raising Children Australia. You’ll also need to pack a hospital bag for you and your baby (this varies on you and your doctor’s plan). When at the hospital, you will usually arrive early morning if this is planned. Your vitals will be checked and you might be given medication if you are at risk of blood clots. Compression socks may be given to you to wear during the surgery.

Next, to prepare you for birth, any pubic hair you have may be trimmed or removed so the area is clean. This is to mediate any risk of infection! You’ll check in with your doctor and get ready for the planned c-section.

planned c-section
Image: Enric Moreu via Unsplash

During the Planned C-Section

First, you’ll be given anaesthesia so you will not feel any pain during the surgery. It’s almost always spinal or in rare cases, an epidural. The procedure is actually fairly quick! It’s only about 30 to 60 minutes long. You’ll be with an obstetrician, anaesthetist, nurses, a paediatrician, and a midwife in the operating room. During the surgery, you’ll have a drape over your chest so you can’t see what’s going on.

The doctor will make incisions in your tummy and uterus, about 10 cm long. Your baby will literally come out and be lifted up and through this cut. You might feel tugging or pulling, actually! Then, as long as the baby is okay, you’ll get the first glimpse at them as your placenta is removed and the baby’s vitals are checked. After this comes the sacred skin-to-skin contact so you can bond (and we’re crying!). You will get another injection through a drip to make your uterus contract and reduce any bleeding. The doctor will be stitching together many things including uterus, muscle, fat, and skin. Then you’ll take antibiotics to reduce infection.

Read Bianca Cheah’s birth story of 44 hours of labor that turned into an unplanned C-Section.

After Your Procedure

You’ll be cared for by nursing staff until you go back to the maternity ward where you and your baby can rest if the baby is doing well. You’ll have staff around to help you with all of those first-time mother things like breastfeeding and more. Because it’s normal to feel pain or discomfort after this procedure, don’t worry too much about this as the nurses will be there to help you walk and help you bathe. Usually, your stay in hospital will be around 5 days as a C Section is major abdominal surgery. And the doctors won’t release you until they see you try to walk, have done at least 1 poo and your cut is healing.

Once you go home, there is no picking anything heavy up, holding, or using your ab muscles in any way as the cut can tear again. So it’s best if you try to rest and recover as quickly as possible. If it becomes an issue, make sure you check in with your doctor or midwife. Also, it’s normal to expect vaginal bleeding after a C -section. So keep wearing those extra comfortable knickers and good night pads that the hospital gave to you — cause you’ll need them. Oh and don’t forget your peri bottle, the handy upside-down bottle that helps to flush any excess blood and urine away after you’ve been to the toilet.

Regardless of the way you give birth, a healthy baby is all that matters in the end.

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