Though all mothers want to deliver their baby the most natural way, it may not be possible in all situations. The health condition of the mother and certain other complications can lead to a scheduled C-section. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, then the doctor will not take chances and recommend a C-section.
A planned or scheduled C-section is conducted when :
- You have undergone a C-section in the past (both planned or unplanned). If you opt for a vaginal delivery after a C-section, you are at risk of the incision opening up.
- Suffering from placenta previa, which can cause severe bleeding during natural birth.
- Infections like HIV and genital herpes which can affect the baby when a vaginal delivery is done.
- Lifestyle conditions like diabetes or hypertension. In such a situation, there are chances of your blood sugar or blood pressure level fluctuating during a natural delivery.
- You are carrying twins, triplets, or more number of babies. In such a situation, delivering all babies vaginally can be a challenge.
- Your baby is large making a natural birth almost impossible. This normally happens if you have gestational diabetes or if the baby has some other complication.
- Your baby is in a breech position, meaning the baby’s legs come out first and the head comes later during normal delivery. This can be traumatic for the mother and cause very difficult labor.
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What to do Before Scheduled C-section?
Once the doctor decides to do C-section for you, you should start the preparation a few weeks ahead.
First, you should fill the pre-registration form and send it to the hospital. Based on this form, the hospital will make all necessary arrangements for your admission.
The doctor will advise you not to eat anything on the day of C-section. Thus, the previous night’s dinner is all that you have before going for a C-section. You should also refrain from drinking water or chewing gum.
If you are taking any medication, you should check with your doctor regarding the same.
On the day of the admission, you should carry your insurance card along with your identity card to the hospital. Remember to pack a hospital bag containing two pairs of dress, your phone and charger, and other personal items.
Scheduled C Section – What to Expect?
C-section is just like any other surgery. Thus, you can expect all that is done during a standard operation to be done in a C-section as well.
Your Anesthesiologist Will Talk You Through It
Before going for the C-section, your anesthetist will brief you about the whole procedure and how anesthesia is administered. This way, you will get to know what to expect during the procedure.
You are encouraged to ask as many questions as you have until you feel comfortable with the procedure.
Your anesthesiologist will be there for you the whole time and you can talk to them throughout the procedure.
Don’t Eat Or Drink Anything
On the day of the scheduled C-section, you will be asked to go on an empty stomach, meaning no food or drinks for 8-12 hours prior.
This is done to prevent the chances of vomiting.
Hopefully, your scheduled c-section will be in the early morning making the fast easier on you.
However, from the time you arrive at the hospital to when you’re actually on the operating room can take some time.
A good piece of advice is to take some gum with you to ‘trick’ your mind and stomach into thinking it’s being fed.
Shave It All Off
The lower portion of your abdomen, as well as the genitals, will be cleaned and shaved. This makes it easy for the doctor to put an incision on your stomach.
If you want to avoid the discomfort of being shaved by a nurse, you can do it yourself at home or go to a salon.
A Catheter Will Be Inserted
A catheter will be inserted into the bladder so that the bladder remains empty. The catheter will be used for the next couple of days until you are ready to walk to the washroom.
Sometimes the nurse will come place the catheter before the anesthesia is administered, but kindly ask if you can wait until after, as it isn’t a pleasant feeling whatsoever. Make sure to ask to wait for the anesthesiologist!
An IV Will Be Placed
An intravenous needle will be inserted in your hand through which medication will be administered.
This intravenous needle will also be used for the next couple of days to provide all the necessary nutrients and medication for you. It’s a bit uncomfortable, but nothing to worry about.
You Will Have To Be Super Still
You will be given an epidural on the spine to numb the lower part of your body. For this, you will have to be incredibly still.
Your experienced anesthesiologist will perform this and show you exactly how to position and arch your back in order to insert the needle.
Also, it doesn’t hurt. I know a lot of people are scared of needles, but you’ll barely feel a pinch and it’ll be over.
A Screen Will Be Placed
A screen will be placed in front of your face so that the procedure is not visible to you.
Your doctor will examine whether the anesthesia has taken its effect by pinching your feet or leg. Once it has taken effect, a small incision will be made on your abdomen, cutting through your uterus.
From here, things start moving pretty quickly.
The Baby Comes Out Quick
The baby will be pulled out through the incision. Sometimes, the doctor has to use a vacuum to take out the baby. But you will not feel any pain except for some pressure on the lower part of the body.
Once the baby is taken out, the doctor will put stitches on your uterus. It is completely the doctor’s preference whether to go for stainless steel stapler or absorbable sutures. If it is a stapler, then it should be removed after a few days.
This entire process is relatively quick, between 15 to 20 minutes. A longer cesarian can last 45 minutes, but that’s highly unlikely unless there are complications.
You Will Feel Cold and Might Shiver
Operating rooms are very cold in order to keep things sterile and combat bacterias that would cause an infection otherwise.
You will only be wearing a hospital gown so you will most likely get cold and even have the shakes possibly.
The nurses may be able to grab you some blankets for your upper half to help with the cold. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Rest and Recovery
You will then be taken to the recovery room where your blood pressure and heartbeat will be monitored for the next few hours. Here you will get the much-needed rest without disturbance from anyone.
If you are in a position to feed the baby, your nurse will assist you in positioning and feeding the baby.
It is best to feed the baby around this time, as colostrum which is the first yellow-colored milk is highly beneficial for the baby’s health.
You Will Bleed
This one caught me by surprise as I didn’t think bleeding occurred with a cesarian.
It was pretty shocking to be completely bloody, like if I had a very bad period.
Since you’re completely numb, you won’t feel the bloodloss, but its completely natural, so don’t panic when you get up and see the puddle of blood.
You won’t be able to use tampons for a while, so make sure you stock up on post-partum pads before getting home
Does a C-section Hurt More Than Natural Birth?
Since anesthesia is used for a C-section the surgery does not hurt at all. However, the recovery after the operation can be painful and time-consuming.
You will find it difficult to move or even sit for a couple of days after the surgery. If you develop an infection at the site of incision, then complications can occur.
Make sure to take your antibiotics. A lot of moms worry it will get into the baby’s milk, but studies have shown that the amount that does make it is not harmful to your infant.
There is also a higher risk of blood loss during C-section when compared to natural birth. In some cases, bowel or bladder can also get hurt as a result of C-section which can make matters worse.
The recovery period for C-section is also longer when compared to a vaginal birth as the incision takes time to heal. Make sure to keep your stitches clean and dry!
C-section is a painless procedure and does not hurt you at the time of delivery. But the post-delivery pain and complication can be hard on your mind and body. However, when well-prepared, both physically and mentally, you should be fine.
Always remember to follow your doctors tips and recommendations in order to make your c-section as smooth as possible.