5 Things Everyone Should Know About Cesarean Birth
There are 5 things everyone should know about cesarean birth! Cesarean birth just doesn’t get discussed as much as “natural birth” or vaginal birth. If it does, it is often in passing or in such a way as to incite fear! As your friendly, neighborhood doulas, we wanted to take a minute and talk about some aspects of Cesarean birth so that whether you are planning a C-section or not, you at least have a little more information on them, because let’s face it, birth is rarely black and white!
Cesarean birth is birth, but it’s also major abdominal surgery
First and foremost, Cesarean birth is unequivocally birth. There is no “right” way to birth. That said, it is also major abdominal surgery. As such, the recovery can be fairly difficult for the majority of the population. The body needs more time and more gentleness as it recovers from surgical birth (ß—see, surgery and birth!). Just think: the doctor has to cut through multiple layers to get to the prize! That is no easy feat and your body knows it. So, please be gentle with yourself for at least six weeks following B-day!
It could take all day
If you are looking forward to cesarean birth because you are happy to schedule your baby’s birthday and you are arranging it to coincide with visits from the grandparents, this may be a little disappointing. Yep, that 9:00 AM appointment could actually turn into a 9:00 PM birth. C-sections don’t guarantee that you’ll get to adhere to the itinerary! Emergencies happen all the time which means that your non-emergent birth time could get repeatedly pushed back depending on the hospital’s load and facilities. It isn’t likely, but it does happen often enough that it’s worth being aware.
It can be just as scary
This doesn’t apply to everyone (I mean, really, when do birth scenarios ever apply across the board?), but Cesareans can induce fear and panic even in the coolest cucumber. So while you may enjoy the feeling of control that C-sections provide, you may also notice yourself shaking and trembling when the doctors explain the procedure or when you enter the stark room. This is normal. See point #1!
You will feel
Yep. Even with the anesthesia, you actually will still feel! Before you panic, read on. As weird as it is, most people report that they were not completely numb; however, the sensations were not painful. You will most likely feel the pressure and the pulling as the surgeon works, but it doesn’t hurt, even if it is unsettling. This could partly be due to the fact that we can see what it is going on (partially) and therefore our brain expects something, so we perceive the sensations and partly because the epidural and spinal do not always completely block proprioception.
You still need support
A good portion of people think that a C-section is the “easy way out”. Not only is this patently false, it is dismissive to those people who know that it’s false! We often hear from people who’ve had Cesareans that they were so surprised that it wasn’t easy at all and they didn’t count on needing validation, emotional support, and practical help from outside their close family and friends. As a matter of fact, they felt relieved when they found out that C-sections are just as deserving and demanding of birth and postpartum help as vaginal births are. So, ensure you line up the perfect support team so that you feel at ease during and after the birth. See points #1, #2, #3, and #4