Approximately 30% of all births in the United States are cesarean deliveries. While cesareans can be lifesaving in some cases, they also come with risks like wound infections, blood clots, and longer recovery times.
Some mothers willingly choose to have a C-section, while others have no choice because of complications. High blood pressure and diabetes are two reasons a C-section may be recommended. If you’re scheduled for a C-section, you must realize it is major surgery. So, it would help if you walked into the hospital prepared.
Know the Details:
It would be best if you were an informed patient. Ask your doctor or midwife a ton of questions. Be sure you understand the procedure and what will happen before, during, and after the surgery. You should also know the risks involved.
Some women feel more comfortable having a C-section because they can plan for it. For example, you’ll know the date and time of your baby’s birth, which can be helpful if you’re a working mother or have other children at home.
You should also know that you can still bond with your baby after a C-section. You’ll be able to see and hold your baby right away. And you can breastfeed soon after the surgery.
Be Aware of the Involved Risks:
Cesarean births are in no way any less natural than vaginal births. On the contrary, they may be more so given the modern medical interventions used to make them as safe as possible for both mother and child.
However, because they are invasive surgeries, there are more risks involved. These include infection, heavy bleeding, and blood clots. Understanding the reasons and impact of these risks can help you be more prepared for them. However, resources like childbirthinjuries.com can help educate you in detail. But for a quick overview, here are some of the more common risks:
One of the most common risks of a C-section is infection. It can occur in the incision site or elsewhere in the body. Signs of infection include fever, redness, and pain.
Among the common infection causes are bacteria on the skin, in the vagina, or in the uterus. Infection can also occur if there’s a break in the sterile field during the surgery.
Infections are avoidable, though. You can reduce your risk by showering with soap and water before surgery. It would help if you avoided shaving or waxing the hair around the incision site.
Another common complication is heavy bleeding, also called hemorrhage. It can occur during or after the surgery.
Heavy bleeding can be caused by several things, such as blood loss from the incision site, uterine rupture, or placenta previa.
Most hemorrhages can be controlled with medication or a transfusion. In some cases, surgery may be needed to stop the bleeding.
Blood clotting is normal during the healing process. But, if clots form in the leg or pelvic veins, they can be dangerous.
That’s because they can break loose and travel to the lungs, where they can cause a blockage. It is called a pulmonary embolism, and it can be life-threatening.
You can reduce your risk of blood clots by moving around as soon as possible after the surgery. Your nurse will help you get out of bed and walk around the room. You should also avoid sitting for long periods.
Be Selective About Your Medical Team:
Your medical team should be selected based on their experience, not just their location or the insurance they accept.
You should feel at ease inquiring your doctor or midwife about their experience with C-sections.
How many have they performed?
What was the reason for the C-section in each case?
You should also ask about their experience with the specific type of C-section you’re scheduled for. For example, if you’re having a repeat C-section, you’ll want to ensure they’re experienced in that area.
Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion if you have concerns about your care team. The best way to ensure a smooth C-section is to have confidence in your medical team.
Wait for the Labor to Progress:
Studies reveal that planned C-sections before labor begins may increase the risk of complications. Although considered full term at 39 weeks, most babies do best when they’re born closer to 40 weeks.
So, unless there are medical reasons, it’s best to wait for labor to begin on its own. It means noticing the early signs of labor,such as (when the baby drops lower in your pelvis), nesting (a sudden burst of energy to get things ready for the baby’s arrival), or water breaking.
Minimize the Use of Catheters:
A catheter is a small tube inserted into the bladder to help drain urine. It’s used during many surgeries, including C-sections.
Catheters can increase the risk of urinary tract infections. So, it’s essential to minimize their use.
In most cases, women require at least a day or two after the surgery before removing the catheter. But if you feel you can use a bedpan or urinate on your own, tell your nurse.
Follow All Wound Care Instructions:
After a C-section, you’ll have an incision on your abdomen. Following all wound care instructions is important to avoid infection and promote healing.
You’ll probably be given a list of instructions before you leave the hospital. But you should generally keep the incision site clean and dry. You should also avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for at least six weeks. Some signs of infection are redness, swelling, and drainage from the incision site.
If you have any concerns about your incision, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.
Caesarian births have longer recovery times, so it’s crucial to mentally and emotionally prepare for that. Have your support system in place, and make sure you’re surrounded by people who will be understanding and patient as you recover.Additionally, give yourself some grace. It is okay if you cannot do everything you usually would. Just focus on taking care of yourself and your new baby, and the rest will fall into place.