You're on the final stretch of your pregnancy, and it is the moment you've been preparing for! Knowing that you will give birth anytime, you have your birthing plan on hand for the moment you need to go to the hospital. You've "practiced" how to push the baby out via vaginal delivery. But, oops, it turns out you need to give birth via Cesarean section (there are several reasons as listed here). Are you ready for a C-section? Have you saved enough money in case you need emergency CS?
Well, you and I don't really know what will happen.
Just in case you will need to deliver through C-section, here are a few things you should know:
1. You may feel cold.
It's quite common for women giving birth via C-section to feel chilly. I immediately felt that after I was given the epidural, and I was shivering up until I was wheeled into the operating room (OR). While moms think it's because of the cold temperature inside the OR (and it's also true — they have to maintain a specific temperature inside the room to prevent humidity which may cause the formation of bacteria), it is actually an effect of the drug injected into you.
2. You may tremble.
Aside from the cold they feel, some women also experience involuntary shaking. For some, it's the whole body, while for others it's just their legs. Either way, doctors say it's completely normal and shouldn't be a cause for worry.
3. During delivery, you'll feel some tugging and pulling.
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Because you'll be on anesthesia, there won't be any pain when the doctors cut you open. However, don't be surprised if you feel some slightly forceful movements (just to give you an idea: some women remember the bed shaking sideways while this was happening) as your medical team eases your baby out of your tummy.
4. Your vagina will still be "involved."
Even if your baby did not exit through your vagina (as he or she would in a "normal" delivery), your nurses will still do a wash-up to rinse it and clean up any blood that may have leaked out of it after you give birth via CS. And, having said that...
5. You will have a bloody discharge.
Not as much as if you gave birth vaginally, but there will still be blood coming out of your vagina as fluids drain following your surgery. The bleeding may last for up to several weeks. Be wary though of excessive bleeding, as this isn't normal. Tell your doctor immediately if this happens.
6. It will be excruciating to cough, or sneeze, or laugh.
But of course, because you just had major surgery! But since it's impossible not to do any of the above (and sometimes it's hard to anticipate a sneeze — ouch!), doctors advise to hold a pillow over the incision as you cough, sneeze, or laugh. This is quite effective in minimizing the pain, at least immediately after you give birth and for the next few weeks or so.
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7. You may have to take stool softeners.
With a wound still fresh and sore, it's not advisable for you to forcibly push using your abdominal muscles to pass stool. Stool softener tablets, often mixed in with laxatives, will help you do number two with ease. Ample water intake and some minimal movements, like walking, will get your system back to normal faster, too.
8. You may freak out at first sight of your CS wound.
I certainly did. But with proper postpartum care of your wound (and barring any conditions like diabetes), it should heal nicely — inside and outside — within three months. Do take note of any symptoms like high fever or redness and swelling around the incision, which isn't typical, and see your doctor immediately as these could indicate an infection.