So, You’re Having a Cesarean Section

cesarean section c-section delivery

Prior to Phoenix’s delivery, I drafted a post on how I was preparing myself for postpartum recovery. After delivery my needs completely changed since I didn’t have a vaginal delivery. Instead, I’m sharing my cesarean section recovery experience and tips I found helpful. First, I’d love to address the stigma surrounding cesarean sections. Is that ok?

It’s scary to hear you’ll need an emergency cesarean section. The hormones and adrenaline pumping through a mother is intense. This is why it’s so important to trust your medical team! The stigma surrounding needing medical birth intervention baffles me. A mother isn’t inhibiting her entire parenting experiencing by not delivering “naturally”. I’m here to say, if you need a cesarean section, you haven’t failed!

1. The only concern I had about needing an emergency cesarean section was if I could still do skin-to-skin with my baby directly after the surgery. Thankfully, our hospital keeps baby with mom as long as both are healthy. I started breastfeeding right in post-op and I haven’t had any milk supply issues. I’d make sure to ask about your hospital’s skin-to-skin and nursing policies prior to surgery. Enlist your partner if you aren’t feeling up for making requests.

2. Stay on top of your pain meds! The day after Phoenix was born my catheter was removed. To remain removed, I had to be able to urinate within four hours by myself. Ohh was it painful getting out of bed!

It’s important to move. Now I’m not talking about going on a two-mile walk, but even a daily shower and occasionally standing to rock your baby helps in the long run. Your body will thank you. All of that movement will leave you sore, so continue to take your pain meds.

3. Pants and shorts are a no-go. I had purchased new pajama bottoms but it took weeks before a waist band felt comfortable! Instead, flowy maternity dresses were my best friend. Additionally, stock up on the hospital’s mesh underwear or purchase soft high-rise underwear. Bikini cuts will sit right on your wound.

4. I was far more concerned about the pain of postpartum recovery than I was about laboring. One benefit to a c-section? You aren’t in pain when using the bathroom (at least I wasn’t). You’ll still bleed but the only pain is walking to the bathroom and trying to gingerly sit on the toilet. My pelvic floor thanks me.

5. There are more mobility restrictions with a c-section: no driving for two weeks and six weeks before you’re allowed to lift more than ten pounds. I’m extremely grateful Jordan has a flexible work schedule because he was able to stay home with me for the first two weeks while still working. It’s important to stick with the restrictions. You don’t want to risk ripping a stitch.

The day after we returned from the hospital I did develop a low grade fever. I knew this could mean an infection but I didn’t want to jump to a conclusion. I fed Phoenix and let Jordan hang out with him for a few hours so I could nap. When I woke up my fever had broken and never returned.

A cesarean section recovery is quite different from a vaginal birth recovery. In some ways it’s been easier than I anticipated, but I still had major surgery. No recovery is going to be the same but I wanted to offer my experience!

7 thoughts on “So, You’re Having a Cesarean Section”

  1. Voluntary c-section is such a personal choice. As a pregnancy and pediatric chiropractor I find many women are not aware of the downsides. So important to be educated well about it and then make your decision. Emergency c-section pre scheduled still has room for options. A women should seek a pregnancy certified chiropractor to discuss options. Particularly if the baby is breach or abnormal lie. Chiropractors have excellent success with these situations. C-section in the delivery room is a whole different bag of tricks. Not much leeway there! Well done girl. Great post.

    1. We discovered he was breach after being in labor for 9 hours. We felt really comfortable with our decision (my water had broken on its own) but if he had flipped earlier I would have sought out different ways to flip him back.

  2. I can’t imagine how scary this was on top of the anxiety and fears that come with labor anyway! I’ve had a few friends who have had to have emergency c-sections and they’ve all talked about how painful the recovery has been.

  3. Great post! Leighton was breech from 28 weeks so I knew I was most likely going to have a cesarean unless she flipped back. I’m so glad you had a good recovery from an emergency one because I have heard from friends that they can be rough. I had no problems with mine either and I was up and walking around the next day too. I feel like people give c-sections a bad wrap but I had a great experience!

  4. This is such a good post! I have no experience with this but I can agree with the pain meds! I was so high on endorphins that I thought I didn’t need them and then when I had to go to the bathroom after mine was removed, my body proved me very, very wrong.

  5. This is all SO good to know!!! I always want to be prepared and get my friends who are pregnant something that will help with recovery, but I wouldn’t know what to get them if they had a C-section. LOVE this!

  6. Definitely agree with all of us! My first was a c-section as well. My water broke at home (at 37 weeks!) so we went in to L&D, but I had only had an hour or two of light contractions when his heart rate started dropping. My doctor gave us the option of waiting it out a little longer, but I wasn’t really progressing, and she also warned us that as my contractions picked up, he might react even worse, which would lead to an emergency c-section. We felt good about having a controlled c-section, before things turned into an emergency, and so we had him after just a few hours at the hospital. I don’t regret it at all. I was able to have a VBAC with my second, though, which was amazing!

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