When I found out I was pregnant 2 years ago, I went through all the emotions new moms go through- excitement, joy…and WORRY! But the one thing most new moms often worry about the most, LABOR, was not on my list. Actually, my worry was one that many moms are absolutely terrified of…C-SECTION!
There are several different reasons a doctor will suggest a cesarean delivery, including risk to the mom or baby with a vaginal delivery, labor not progressing, or emergency situations. In my personal experience I was having a planned C-section due to a past surgery making it dangerous to deliver vaginally. Through my experience I gained knowledge on how to prepare for the big day and the days following delivery. While many C-sections are not planned, many of the tips below can be followed by any expectant mom. You can never be too prepared for one of the biggest days of your life!
Tips on Preparing For a C-Section and Recovery:
1. Work on Strengthening Your Core. Every expectant mother should do this, but especially those having a C-section. Planks and other core stabilizing moves, including prenatal yoga, are a great and safe way to strengthen your core muscles. Not a gym fan? Check out Knocked-Up Fitness or Stroller Strides here in the Quad Cities to help stay fit. Always consult your doctor before performing any exercise routine!
2. Line Up Post-Partum Help. Do NOT be afraid to ask for help, you will need it. Make sure your partner, mother, mother-in-law or other friend/loved one can stay with you for at least 2 weeks. After surgery it will be more difficult to get around and it is important to have a very able person around with a newborn. Plus you will need a driver to your baby’s first doctor appointments.
3. Do Your Research. Research what a C-section is and ask your doctor to explain the procedure and risks. You can also find videos of C-sections online if you would like to see the surgery beforehand. Get your partner involved with this too as he will likely be in the operating room with you. Make sure you understand the pain medications you will be receiving and when to take them. Pain management done correctly is vital in a speedy recovery.
4. Go Shopping- There are some helpful things you should get to help with your C-section recovery:
- Co-sleeper or bassinet. Make it easier on your healing body and have your baby as close to you as possible during the night
- Boppy Pillow- I found this to be a great way to support the baby while nursing without irritating my incision.
- Extra pillows- Make sure you have extra pillows to help prop yourself up while sleeping. If you are propped up, it will make it easier and less painful to sit up to tend to the new baby.
- Granny panties and lose pants- Or better yet keep around your maternity pants and grab some of the extra undies from the hospital. You will want very little touching your new incision.
- Belly Band- I HIGHLY recommend getting a post-partum support band to help support your core after your C-section. I personally recommend the Babies R Us post-partum support band. It worked great for me and affordable enough to get two sizes (larger for right after delivery and smaller as you lose the baby bump!)
5. Post Delivery and Lactation Consultants. It was VERY important to me that I got to hold and nurse my son right away. If you wish to do this too, make sure your doctor knows your wishes. Your baby will be taken care of while the doctor is finishing your surgery. If all is fine with you and baby you should be able to hold your new bundle of joy right away. Ask if there are Lactation Consultants on duty to help with breast feeding. Breast feeding a newborn can be difficult and even more so while recovering from surgery. Finally, when the nurses or doctor give the OK for you to get up, do so. Getting up and walking around ASAP is a great way to regain strength and stability. The sooner you get moving the sooner you will feel back to normal. As always, inform your doctor if you are in pain or need assistance.
Now that you are armed with some tools for the big day, please remember that whether you are having a planned C-section or an unexpected one, know that your birth experience will be special no matter how you deliver. Most importantly, that baby in your arms will think you are the most amazing person in the world regardless!
Jennifer, originally from Des Moines, just moved to the Quad Cities with her husband of 5 years, Todd, and 1 year old son, Tate in April. She is a stay at home mom, busy making a new home, meeting new friends, and playing with her very active toddler. Jennifer also enjoys running, working out, and indulging in reality TV during her “mommy breaks.”