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    26 Frequently Asked Questions About C-Section Surgery and Recovery
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    Parenting Labour and Delivery
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    Cesarean delivery
    20 February 2015

    26 Frequently Asked Questions About C-Section Surgery and Recovery

    9 mins read
    Labour and Delivery
    for Pregnancy
    31.5K engaged
    It is imperative for expectant mothers to know about cesarean delivery as any complication can necessitate an emergency cesarean procedure at the last minute. Here is a list of the common FAQs on C-section.


    C-section delivery is a common operation performed by the doctors if natural or assisted birth of the baby is not possible due to any reason. Most of the times it is a complication-free and risk-free procedure if the mother and child are healthy, but sometimes emergencies can warrant a C-section. Expectant mothers should know about cesarean delivery to equip themselves with important knowledge about the requirement, procedure and risks related to this childbirth technique.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Cesarean Delivery

    What is a C-section?
    Cesarean section or C-section is a surgical procedure that involves making an incision in the abdomen and uterus of the mother to deliver the baby.

    Does a cesarean procedure hurt?
    The mother is usually conscious during the operation, but does not feel any pain as the lower body is under the effect of anesthesia. Women who are older or overweight are more likely to undergo a C-section.

    When is a Cesarean necessary?
    Gynaecologists or obstetricians usually suggest a cesarean when a vaginal birth (birth canal delivery) poses a threat to the mother or the baby. It becomes necessary when:
    • The mother has a long labour or the labour suddenly stops
    • The size of the baby is too big for normal delivery or the mother is carrying twins or triplets
    • The umbilical cord or the placenta is displaced
    • Baby’s heart beat too irregular
    • Mother is facing a medical problem such as HIV, diabetes, high bloodpressure, etc. The baby has a medical problem

    How can I prepare for a C-section?
    If the doctor suggests a cesarean, you will be asked to give your permission for the procedure to take place. He will explain the risks related with normal delivery and the advantages of getting a C-section done. The medical preparation includes:
    • Taking your blood sample to test that you do not suffer from anaemia as the procedure involves blood loss
    • Giving you drugs to eliminate the risk of high blood pressure
    • Injecting an anaesthetic (spinal or epidural) to numb your lower body
    • Implanting a catheter (thin tube) into your bladder through urethra to empty your bladder
    • Attaching medical equipment to your body to check your pulse rate, heart rate and blood pressure
    • Shaving and Cleaning the area to be incised with an antiseptic
    • Injecting drugs to avoid the risk of blood clots in your legs
    • Giving antibiotics to keep infections at bay

    How is a cesarean done?
    During the cesarean, the doctor makes a cut across the abdomen near the pubic hairline, a little above the pubic bone, to open the tissues and reach the uterus. A small incision is made in the uterus that is widened with the help of fingers or scissors by the surgeon to avoid blood loss. Some fluid comes out of the uterus and the belly of the mother is pressed to push the baby. The doctor then lifts the baby out with the help of forceps, if needed. The incision can be vertical instead of horizontal in the case of premature delivery or other problems like low-lying placenta or fibroids in the bottom of the uterus.
    C-section delivery

    What type of pain relief is offered before and after a cesarean?
    You will be given anesthesia before the C-section, and the procedure will be quite painless. After the surgery, you may be given morphine, regular pain medication (usually containing acetaminophen) or systemic narcotics. Your doctor will decide the best pain relief for you. If you feel it is not working well, you can discuss and get it changed.

    What can I expect during a C-section?
    You will first be given anesthesia that will numb you from the rib cage down. You will not feel any pain during the surgery. You may feel some prodding (painless) as the baby is placed into position. Usually, from the time the incision is made, your baby can be delivered within minutes or in around half an hour. This will depend on individual circumstances. After the baby is delivered and taken away for care, your uterus will be stitched up.

    Can I hold my baby in the OR after surgery?
    You will most likely be able to see your baby after the surgery, before he/she is taken away for care. You will be able to hold your baby when you are taken into a recovery room after your incision has been stitched up.

    What types of material are used to seal a C-Section incision?
    The doctor could use stitches, glue, staples, etc., to seal the incision. This depends on your doctor and the hospital where you have your delivery.

    What are the risks of a C-section to my baby?
    Though there are no big risks of cesarean section, there could be some problems that might crop up because of the surgery, such as:
    • Heavy loss of blood leading to the need of blood transfusion
    • Blood clots
    • Infection in the incision
    • Injury to the bladder or internal organs
    • Injury to the baby
    • Placenta problems, leading to heavy bleeding in later pregnancies

    What is the recovery time for a C-section?
    The recovery after the procedure depends on the individual. While some women start feeling normal after a few weeks, others may take up three months to get back to their normal self. You can help your body to heal faster by starting to move around as soon as your doctor allows for it. Do not exert yourself too much in the initial few weeks as it can affect the healing process.

    Is it normal to bleed after a C-section? How to determine if you are bleeding too much?
    Bleeding after C-section is normal and it can last up to two weeks much like a normal delivery. However, if the flow is too heavy and you pass a clot as big as a golf ball then you must consult your doctor.

    Is it possible to breastfeed after a C-section?
    It is absolutely possible to breastfeed your baby after a C-section. However, you should consult your doctor and lactation consultant before you start nursing.

    How big will my C-Section Scar Be?
    C-section scars are usually small - about four to six inches. The incision is made horizontally below your pubic hairline.
    C-section scar

    Is itching at the cesarean scar a normal thing?
    Yes. It is normal to experience some itching as the scar heals. Do not scratch the area as it may lead to an infection. Discuss with the doctor if you experience severe itching.

    What to do in case your C-Section scar irritates you?
    You need to ensure that the scar heals quickly and properly in order to soothe the discomfort. Make sure the area is clean. Avoid lifting heavy objects or any other activities that might cause stretching and pain in the area.

    Is it normal for the scar to smell?
    No. The C-section scar should not have a foul smell. If you experience this, and also have fever, it could be a sign of infection and needs to be checked by the doctor.

    Related Read: Dealing With Post-Cesarean Wound Infection

    Is it possible to get rid of the scars?
    C section scars usually fade with time. You should not start any scar removal treatment before checking with your doctor. There are a few natural remedies to promote the healing of the scar which you can use after the wound has healed completely. These include aloe vera gel, oil massage and natural honey.

    How soon can I start exercising?
    Do not be in a hurry to lose the extra kilos. Ideally your doctor would suggest to wait for 6 weeks before you can begin exercising but it may differ for every individual. So, consult your caregiver before starting with your workout regime. Here are some simple things you can do for weight loss afer C-section.

    When can I resume sex?
    Your body needs time to heal after a C-section. It is recommended to wait for about 6 weeks after delivery before having intercourse. Check with your doctor and wait for a green signal that indicates your body has now sufficiently recovered.

    When can I drive a car?
    This is estimated to be around 4-6 weeks. This too depends on your individual factors such as recovery, healing of scar and level of pain.

    What are the post C section under pants?
    These underpants are specially designed for women who have a C-section. These pants feel more comfortable and help relieve swelling and itching. You can purchase this underwear and feel more comfortable after your delivery.

    C-section underwear

    How soon is it safe to conceive?
    It is recommended to wait for at least 6 months to 1 year before conceiving after having a C-section. This gives your body and your C-section scar time to heal properly.

    How many C-Sections is it safe to have?
    The risks do increase with every repeat C-section. These risks include bleeding, placenta problems, and bowel/bladder injuries. Some studies indicate that the risks are high after three C-sections, and vaginal delivery is not recommended after this point.

    Will I have to have another c-section if I have another child?
    This is not necessary. Many women go on to have a vaginal birth after a C-section (called vaginal birth after C-section or VBAC). There is a slight risk that your C-section scar might tear if you have a VBAC. However, this depends on various factors such as your overall health and complications in the pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to advise you on whether you can have a VBAC or should have another C-section.

    Can I have a VBAC after multiple C-Sections?
    Yes. Women who have had multiple C-sections have successfully gone on to have a VBAC too. However, the risk of complications is definitely higher, and your doctor will be the best person tp judge whether or not this will be suitable for you.

    What is an 'elective c-section'?
    An elective C-section is a planned cesarean arranged ahead of time. Your doctor may recommend you to have a C-section if he perceives complications in your pregnancy. Some mothers-to-be may also opt for a C-section due to personal or health reasons.

    Equipped with all the knowledge about the C-section, you can now prepare yourself and your family members about the procedure, so that they are in better position to take care of you. Take care.

    C-section myths

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    Comments (1)

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    Samidha Mathur
    I have become a FAN if editorial team. A very correct information is provided as I have experienced this.. one more point to add : stiches have to be properly taken care of.. avoid wearing tight clothes especially tight panties for the timr being.. wear light clothes so as to air comes in contact with.. it dries up the stiches soon and irritation doesn't happen.



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