C Section Procedure Step by Step, Plus Bonus Tip
Sometimes the scariest part of having surgery is not knowing what's involved.
Here are some of things about preparing for a c-section that are seldom discussed. They’ll help you wrap your mind around the incredible surgical procedure that will be taking place inside the operating room.
Learning more about the procedure may make it feel less daunting, so you're better prepared for your delivery date. Moreover, it also gives you the opportunity to ask your doctor the right questions to understand what you can do to support your postpartum recovery.
In this article, we'll cover what goes on in the delivery room, offer some insight to the experience, and touch on the best support system for your postpartum c-section healing.
This is a big topic, so let's just dive straight in.
- 1. They Will Insert A Catheter
- 2. The Surgical Drape Will Block The View Of Your Baby Being Born
- 3. Your Hands or Arms May Be Restrained
- 4. The Surgical Staff Might Play Music
- 5. Your Partner Will Have Their Mind Blown
- 6. The Numbness You Feel is Normal
- 7. It’ll Be Over Before You Know It
- 8. Being an Informed Patient Helps Ease Your Worries by Keeping You ‘In-the-Know'
- Preparing For Your C-Section Recovery
- What Else Goes Into Recovering From A C-Section Delivery?
1. They Will Insert A Catheter
A catheter is a flexible tube inserted through the urethra and guided into the bladder, where it empties urine into a bag reduce chances of injury.
Your catheter will be removed a day after your c-section delivery.
2. The Surgical Drape Will Block The View Of Your Baby Being Born
The surgical drape provides a physical barrier to isolate the surgical c-section site at the abdomen from potential contamination to reduce the risk of of infections.
When you're undergoing a c-section, the surgical drape will block your view of your baby's birth.
A recent trend that has come about so c-section moms can see their baby being born, as in vaginal births, are clear surgical drapes. This type of delivery is called a family-centered cesarean.
Don't worry — you won't see anything gory as you're not watching the procedure or cutting the incision into your abdomen. You won't see anything but your baby coming into the world.
3. Your Hands or Arms May Be Restrained
The anaesthesia and spinal epidural will numb the lower half of your body, which will thankfully, kick in fast — but you'll remain awake during the procedure.
Your arms are restrained to prevent you from flailing while operated on. You're undergoing surgery, so this is for your safety and that of the medical team.
When your baby arrives, the anaesthesiologist will free your arms, so you can meet your baby.
4. The Surgical Staff Might Play Music
The doctors and nurses are thinking, why not add some ambiance to the event?
Your doctors and nurses are concentrated on their job and a bit of music can help them get focused and relax you in the operating room. Many women find it helped pass the time and calm jittery nerves.
5. Your Partner Will Have Their Mind Blown
Even if your partner thinks they know what’s going to happen, they probably won’t. Prepare to hear them express the incredible magnitude of the situation they’re witnessing in vivid detail.
6. The Numbness You Feel is Normal
The numbness you feel is the powerful epidural taking its effects. You may feel some pressure and prodding from the doctor.
Because you're numb, you can't push the baby out as you would during a vaginal delivery. Their hand is literally inside your abdomen. The doctor applies pressure by squeezing the uterus for your to move the baby into birthing position.
7. It’ll Be Over Before You Know It
As much anticipation that builds up surrounding a C-Section, you’d think it would last longer but it doesn’t. That’s why you should relish every minute of the procedure because it’s something you may or may not experience again.
8. Being an Informed Patient Helps Ease Your Worries by Keeping You ‘In-the-Know'
As a pregnant woman and patient, it’s your right to know what is happening to your body under the care of your physician at all times. Knowing about the caesarean process allows you to check in with yourself to make sure that you feel alright.
It gives you a better idea of the things you can and cannot do following your surgery date. It also allows you to care for your baby the best way possible considering your condition post-surgery.
While you're at it, make sure to take ample care of yourself as well. Remember, a new momma needs as much care and attention as the newborn baby.
Preparing For Your C-Section Recovery
C-section recovery will inevitably take longer than vaginal deliveries. Although c-sections are a standard surgical procedure, it's still major abdominal surgery, and you can expect a different recovery journey. You may feel swollen and tender for up to 6 weeks after childbirth and will have to care for your abdominal surgical incision.
Some of the additional challenges to anticipate after a c-section delivery include:
- Higher risk for infection due to surgical incision
- Abdominal weakness and pain
- Constipation and gas
- Lower back pain
- Difficulty sitting or standing
- Leg pain
To boost the recovery process and promote faster healing, have your Bellefit postpartum girdle or corset packed in your hospital birth bag. This bag will hold the essentials that will make you and baby feel more comfortable at the hospital.
We recommend buying for your girdle ahead of time, so you have it packed for your hospital bag. It would be best if you shop for your postpartum recovery girdle at the eight-month mark of your pregnancy because this is about the size of your belly after childbirth.
To get the best results from a postpartum girdle, increase your comfort, and provide pain relief, wear your compression garment the day after your delivery, with the green light from your doctor.
Our Bellefit moms who had c-section deliveries swear by their girdles for their fast recoveries.
Here are some of the ways a Bellefit postpartum girdle helped moms with their c-section recoveries:
- Medical-grade compression relieves abdominal pain, reduces inflammation, and cramping
- Front and back, triple enforced panels provide stability and support to the lower back and abdominal muscles
- Increase confidence by offering flattering body-shaping benefits — say good-bye to muffin tops and get a flatter looking stomach
- Rebuild your core strength sooner — moms with diastasis recti see enhanced results wearing their Bellefit girdle to get deeper into their exercises while feeling supported
Most moms order two Bellefit post-pregnancy compression garments for their c-section recovery plan — one to wear right after delivery when pain and swelling are at their peak, and they will order a smaller size down. The second girdle is for continuing the benefits of compression therapy alongside exercise and a healthy diet to boost weight loss and give your body a sleeker silhouette.
Bellefit has the most extensive selection of girdles and corsets specifically designed for women's postpartum recovery — they come in eight, flattering styles from sizes XS – 3XL for the most comfortable fit under your clothes.
What Else Goes Into Recovering From A C-Section Delivery?
Fueling your body with the right foods often goes overlooked, especially for new, sleep-deprived moms.
Eating a wide variety of fresh, whole foods will provide you with the energy you need to recover. It's also best to avoid inflammatory foods (typically, junk foods) to minimize the digestion issues many moms experience after c-section deliveries.
Don't expect to get back to your regular gym routine right after c-section delivery. You'll have to work up the strength in your abdominals again slowly, or you can risk opening your incisions and delaying your recovery.
However, there are some gentle exercises you can do weeks after delivery that will significantly benefit your healing from walks, gentle stretches, and kegel exercises.
Most of the body's restorative processes happen during deep sleep.
While we all know it's important to get a good night's sleep, but actually getting the 8-hours is a lot easier said than done.
What can you do to improve your sleep quality with a new baby?
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Keep your room at a cooler temperature.
- Limit your screen time. The blue light emitted from your phone, television, and computer screens can keep you awake.
- Improve your stress management with meditation, breathing exercises, and other self-care practices.
Remember that you don't have to go through motherhood alone — it's okay to ask for help when you need it.
Reach out to your social support system — partner, family members, and friends — to help you with your c-section recovery.
Your loved ones will offer to help with babysitting, cook meals, or take you out for some quality time, and you should take them up on these generous offers, so you can make time to prioritize your healing.
Our Bellefit moms are a fantastic online community of supportive women who offer advice on their postpartum recovery journey. If you have any information for prepping for a c-section delivery, or have any questions going into your c-section, please feel free to shoot us an email.