06 April, 2016

A Guide To Cesareans

Regular readers of my blog will know that I have had two emergency c sections, so I know all too well of what happens. 
However, I was unprepared for my first one and even though I had searched the internet like crazy I still couldn't find the answers I was looking for. So this is my post on everything you need to know about cesareans and with some helpful tips to help you in the few weeks after surgery. 

Why would I need a cesarean? 

Sometimes complications arise during delivery which means a cesarean is required to deliver the baby safely. Other reasons could be due to a multiple birth, the baby is too large, HIV, if you've had a previous c section ( however this isn't always the case), if you've had previous surgery to your uterus and if you have placenta previa.

Some women also chose to have a cesarean to a natural delivery. 

What is in Involved with a cesarean? 

 It's an incision made just above your pubic bone on the bikini line area, several cuts are made through skin, tissue and muscle to get to the baby. The baby is then delivered safely and you get stitched back up. 

What happens before a cesarean? 

  • If you are having a planned c section you may go in the night before or early in the morning. You will be told to not eat or drink so many hours before. Once you get to the hospital you will have all your pre op checks and possibly given some pre op medication. 

  • You will sign your consent form and discuss all options of pain relief with the anaesthesiologist. 

  • You will be taken down to theatre where they will prep you, while you are being prepped your partner or birthing partner will be gowned up in the next room. 

  • Your spinal block will then be administered,  I personally didn't think it hurt and let me just say I am terrified of needles! As the spinal block is being administered you are also given a small dose of anaesthetic to numb the area. 

  • Once the line is inserted you will be helped to lie down and the epidural line will be taped to your back (well mine was), a cold spray will be put onto your skin to test if you are numb enough.  Once numbed the nurses help put on your surgical stockings, extremely sexy looking and annoying as hell but obviously a needed item because you don't want to be catching a DVT whilst your there too! 

  • A small catheter will be insert into your urethra, this helps drain any urine during the procedure and also for the 12 hours after or until the numbness has gone. 

  • An IV drip will be inserted (this may be done before or in the theatre) to administer fluids, pain relief and antibiotics. 
  • If you haven't shaved or waxed then they will also shave and unfortunately it's a dry shave across the bikini line, so maybe pre-book in a wax if you'd prefer a neater job! 

What happens after? 

Afterwards you will be taken into recovery and given a bit of food to eat and something to drink. Depending on the time of your cesarean you may just want to go to sleep.

A nurse will check on you every so often and also a midwife will come to help you breast feed if you chose to do so. 

Now here is the fun bit! 12 hours after surgery they will make you get out of bed! And it's the most weirdest sensation of your life. But the more mobile you are the better the pain. The first time after my 1st c-section I remembered walking hunched over, my stomach muscles were completely ruined and I felt like my insides were going to hit the floor.  The second time was actually worse. I had lost more than the average amount of blood and couldn't stand up due to my iron levels being so low I was on the verge of needing a transfusion. 

You will also be sent home with a selection of pain relief, I would suggest taking them as they are much better than paracetamol or Nurofen.  

You will/ may also be given an injection for the first 7 days to help prevent any blood clots, when I was allowed home I had to get my dad to inject me as I was too scared to do it myself. He's a farmer so he joked that I was no different to injecting a cow, charming dad! 

What to pack in your hospital bag and tips

Pack the biggest pants you can! 
You will need some high wasted underwear as anything lower will just rub against your stitches and it's not comfortable. Go all Bridget Jones on the underwear!

Sanitary towels the thicker the better! 
I used these to put on the inside of my underwear opposite my scar to help keep the area clean and dry and it also acted as a bit of protection to cushion the area. Obviously you will want extra pads for the bleeding you have after as well. 

Comfy clothes that don't dig into the scar
 I chose to live in night dresses for the first week just for that reason. With Archie I wore a really nice maternity/nursing set from Envie de Fraises. Click here to see my review post.

Air your scar
  Lie on the bed for 5/10 mins every few hours with your trousers and underwear folded down to let the air get to it. Many people will have an overhang after their c-section so it can get a bit sweaty underneath and the one thing you don't want is an infection on the scar. 

Shave or wax 
Give your bikini line at bit of a trim before your due date or cesarean date, being dry shaved at the hospital made my scar so itchy.  

I would also recommend getting a cesarean belt/girdle as these keep the stomach lifted, so will help as you heal and hopefully not cause too much of an overhang.

Just because you are having a cesarean doesn't mean you can't make it special, you can ask for music to be played in the background, if you want your baby put on to your chest make sure they are aware. I didn't have that with Alfie but made sure I had it with Archie.

Also if you want to take pictures or film ask. The lady next to me had her's photographed and they got some amazing pictures of the baby in the sac before being born and everything! Obviously this may be too graphic for some people but I would of loved to of seen Archie being born. 

One last thing.....  never feel like a failure because you couldn't or didn't want a natural birth. I felt and still do feel extremely disappointed in my deliveries, but the one thing I keep reminding myself is that I delivered my babies in the safest way I could. 

I think there is a lot of pressure for women to have a perfect natural birth but really the only thing that matters is that your baby is born safely. 

Did you have cesarean?  If so do you have any tips for expectant mothers? 



  1. I'm a 2 c/section pro too. I agree what you've said. I would add to it by recommending that after the section I found it helpful to wash the scar with tea tree shower gel and pat dry thoroughly. Do this everyday until the scar has healed.It's good to have a stash of flannels just for this job.
    Some people are just so snobbish as to how you give birth, my eldest daughter had fetal distress so she had to be born ASAP (particularly annoying since I had gone through labour and was about to start pushing). The main thing is that mum and baby are safe and healthy, that's all that matters.

  2. Hi Jean Thank you for the tip I used Aloe vera on mine but not until a couple of weeks after as the idea of touching my scars made me feel really sick. x


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