Experiencing a Cesarean Section


Experiencing childbirth mentally, physically and emotionally is something that will always remain burned into our memories. Years later you will tell the story over and over again, how this experience marked your life as a person, as a man or woman, as a new mother or father.

That said, experiencing a caesarian isn’t the first choice for the majority of parents when bringing their baby into the world. Many hadn’t even thought about this option and are flabbergasted when they’re told that they might have a caesarian. You should be informed about this eventuality during your pregnancy, either during prenatal classes or with your doctor or midwife. It’s certainly the case that many people have the romantic idea that their baby will be born problem-free, mom and dad with a big smile, almost fatigue and pain-free. I don’t want to say that delivery needs to be difficult to be real, but, in practice, I have seen caesareans play a role in avoiding major complications for the mother and baby. It’s often a solution that can save lives. Parents that know they will have a caesarian in advance better accept the idea, understand the reasons for taking the decision, and start their acceptance process in advance of the procedure.

Parents and caregivers often mention many benefits. A caesarian avoids serious complications or extreme emergency situations; you can know the birthdate in advance; you can authorise the father’s (or significant others) presence in the operating room in most cases. A video about cesarean birth was filmed to show you what the operating room looks like.

Given that a caesarian is a major surgery which involves risks, I think that it’s important that future parents get informed about the procedure. Surgery is a trauma suffered by a person’s body which involves risks of hemorrhage, infection or thrombophlebitis. This is all true for caesareans. Some people might tell you that convalescence is often more prolonged than a standard delivery due to the wound and pain when moving during the first post-op weeks. Additionally, caregivers will ensure that that you can easily go to the bathroom following the removal of the catheter that was installed during the operation. Don’t be surprised if you feel numbness around the incision site for several months given that nerve endings were cut when the tissue was opened. You will be provided specific advice about caring for the wound when you’re released.

It goes without saying that during a caesarian, the uterus is cut, which will weaken it during a future pregnancy given that the scar tissue isn’t as strong as the original tissue. Regarding the baby, there is nothing serious for them during the procedure. However, we often note that there are shorter-term respiratory problems at birth given that they didn’t descend through their mother’s pelvis, evacuating their secretions. Caregivers will help them to clear this up (they’re drawn out) and take their first breath. During the postnatal period, a caesarian-born baby doesn’t require specific care.

Given that a caesarian is a major surgery which involves risks, I think that it’s important that future parents get informed about the procedure.

In the context of a planned cesarean, you can expect to enter the maternity ward at the scheduled time, after fasting for at least eight hours, and prepared for surgery. This involves an intravenous, shaving of the upper pubis if needed, catheter, epidural or spinal anesthesia. The surgery will last for about 45 minutes, and there might be staples or stitches or butterfly closures on the wound for several days. You might be hospitalised up to three or four days as needed. Also, don’t forget, you can breastfeed your baby if you had a cesarean. On the wound site, you might see a sort of “bulge” of hard sensitive skin. The swelling of the edges of the wound will take several days to lower, and the colour of the scar will go from bright red to pink over time. If you want to massage your scar to relax the tissue, break up the adhesions and bring back a degree of flexibility, ask your health professional. The wound will heal differently for each woman, and it’s better to verify the right time to do this.

The emotional aspect shouldn’t be neglected, especially for couples that didn’t expect this scenario. The reaction and experience are, of course, specific to each person. Irrespective, in emergencies the couple doesn’t have much time to prepare, to express their deception, their fears, sadness. This is why it’s important to use the postnatal period to talk about it and release your negative feelings about the experience, which can range from frustration to anger to deception. For some mothers, it’s a split with their baby, isolation, a feeling of not going the distance, not having risen to the challenge. Often, as a consolation, the baby is healthy, and the surgery went smoothly. It takes time to go through the acceptance process because a cesarean can be like experiencing mourning. However, in the end, the important thing is that the baby and mother are healthy. Thinking about it during the prenatal period is an excellent first step in accepting it postnatal.

Remember that you will need good psychological support and domestic help when you return home so that you can properly recover. Naturally, during the first weeks, your partner or a significant person will be important to take care of daily tasks and to help with the baby. If along with this help, you take care of yourself, you will be surprised to see that your body has recovered quickly, say three weeks, and moving will be a lot less painful! You can gradually start doing your daily activities as you regain energy, but you have to be active and balance your energy expenditures with rest. Look at the restrictions and/or time frames to start abdominal exercises with your attending physician.

Related Articles:

  •    A Caesarean Section
  •    Forceps or Cesarean
  •    Realities of childbirth
  •    Why take prenatal classes?
  •    Let’s talk placenta
  •    Epidural or spinal anesthesia

Related Videos:

  •    Caesarian birth filmed in the operating room with Guy Waddell, a gynecologist
  •    Analgesics and anesthetics with Dr. Pirlet

Interesting article: http://sain-et-naturel.com/3-verites-sur-les-femmes-qui-accouchent-par-cesarienne.html (FR).

Talk soon,

The Baby Expert

Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section.

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Experiencing a Cesarean Section

Par Caroline Lacour Temps de lecture: 4 min