Monday, January 10, 2011

Guest Post: Preparing for the Possibility of a C-Section

Preparing for the Possibility of a C-Section

Most first time moms don't consider the possibility of having a C-section, but with almost 1 in 3 babies born via Cesarean section, preparing for the possibility could help you avoid the emotional stress and fear often associated with the initial shock of having a surgical birth.

For many women, C-sections are a planned event, but many of them are not. Some women giving birth aren’t aware they will need a C-section until well into several hours of hard labor.

Before preparing for a C-section, let’s first examine reasons why a planned C-section might occur as well as the reasons for an unplanned C-section:

Planned Cesareans may typically occur if:

  • the mother has had a previous c-section with a vertical incision
  • the baby is in a transverse position or the baby is sideways with shoulders or back over the cervix
  • the baby is in a breech position
  • the mother is carrying multiples
  • the mother has complete Placenta Previa or a placenta that is blocking the cervix
  • the mother has active genital herpes that is present near the due date
  • there are health issues that may be life threatening to mother or baby

Unplanned C-sections might occur if:

  • Labor has been induced. This doubles the odds of having a c-section
  • There are signs of fetal distress during labor
  • Labor is slow or stops completely
  • A problem occurs with the placenta or umbilical cord putting the baby at risk
  • Signs of infection are present

Regardless of why a C-Section occurs, it’s important to understand that the possibility always exists. The labor process is never the same for every woman and complications can occur at any time.

For these reasons, it’s generally a good idea to be aware of the possibility of having a c-section and be prepared should the need arise.

How to Prepare for a Planned C-Section

If you know you’ll be having a c-section, there are a number of things you can do to prepare.

Discuss anesthesia options with an anesthesiologist in advance. There are a few choices you have so be sure you understand them and decide on what you feel is best for you.

Familiarize yourself with the c-section procedure and what happens in recovery. You may even be able to make special requests of your doctor or hospital. For instance, once your baby is born, hospitals typically have specific recovery procedures for breastfeeding and holding your baby immediately after surgery, however some hospitals are flexible and personal requests may be accepted.

Prepare your home prior to going to the hospital for easy access to baby supplies, medications, personal effects etc. If your home has stairs it’s a good idea to move things downstairs as climbing stairs isn’t recommended after surgery.

Pre-plan meals and ensure the care of older children if necessary. Recruit neighbors and friends that are willing to help. The less you have to worry about when it comes to your immediate family, the easier your recovery will be.

Breastfeeding can be more challenging for c-section moms, so get acquainted with what the specific problems could be and how you might be able to work around them.

Understand what your recovery at home will entail and prepare for how you can make your recovery as speedy and as easy as possible.

Preparing for the Unplanned C-Section

Even if you don’t expect to have a C-section, prepare yourself for the possibility. Doing so can mean less physical and emotional stress and a much quicker recovery.

In addition to the above items, also discuss with your doctor before your due date your risk factors for having a c-section and be sure to mention any concerns or worries you may have.

Educate yourself on the potential problems or risks that C-sections present and be ready for how you will respond to them.

Having a C-section does require longer hospital stays and a longer recovery, however proper planning and a healthy mental outlook can mean the difference between a miserable birth experience and a positive, memorable one.


Elizabeth is the author and creator of 'Worry Free C-Section', a popular c-section recovery , planning and healing guide.


Kimlyn said...

This is great post, something all pregnant woman need to think about. We had planned for a natural birth at The Farm midwifery center but had to have a c-section. Baby was breech and I was not sustaining labor. Ina May said she could deliver a breech baby (and I would have let her) but my labor never really began. The c-section happened when I was three weeks overdue. Gratefully the hospital was understanding and let us do what we wanted with our baby. Today she is almost five months old and gloriously healthy. I was crushed when I heard that I would need a section but it was one of those cases that was necessary for a "healthy baby, healthy momma outcome."

Elena said...

I think your post is great. My sister is pregnant, I'll recommend to stop by your blog.

Procrastinating perfectionist said...

What a great post and so true. As a first time mom I packed for the typical two day stay just in case and had my birthplan all ready for a natural vaginal birth and after 40 hours of labor I had to have a c-section. While I know that the most important outcome was to have a healthy baby but it really affected me that I was unable to give birth the way I had hoped. I have had three kids by c-section (1 after 40 hours of labor, 1 after 13 hours of labor that turned into an emergency c-section and one planned). I think had I planned for a c-section just in case, I think my emotional state of the "loss of a natural birth" would have been easier to accept. I don't like to burst anyones bubble when they tell me they have a birth plan but I do like to add that just in case you might want to prepare yourself for a c-section.

Nyrie said...

This is a great story and I think that it is really important for Moms to realise that even if they have a C Section that it is important to do skin to skin and breastfeed as soon as possible when a baby is born. Its great for both the Mom and the baby.

Nyrie Roos said...

This is a great story and should help all Moms who have a c section

Misty said...

Wow, what a great article. Expecting moms should pay close attention to the part about planning for the unplanned C section. My sister is currently 7 months and while she has had no problems I just emailed her the link to the article. Thanks again for taking time to share. Misty

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