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Sixteen Things You Need to Know About Having a C-section

In the last 4 years I have had three C-section births. My first born was in the breech position (head up, bum down) and I decided against any procedures to turn her in the womb. After having a minor complication at 26 week with my waters, I was happy to do whatever my obstetrician suggested to ensure a safe delivery for my baby.

If you have been told that you need to have a C-section birth or are deciding on the best method of giving birth, here are sixteen things you need to know before having a C-section. These tips will help you face the coming weeks taking care of yourself and a newborn after major surgery.


1. Planned C-sections usually go according to plan. You may be able to choose the day you want your baby to be born and once the date is set you can organise your partner to get the day off and organise a babysitter for the older siblings. Fridays are always a good day for a C-section because it means your baby’s 1st Birthday will be on a Saturday the following year, provided the following year isn’t a leap year.

2. In most and I would hope in every circumstance, your doctor or midwife will only offer a C-section delivery if it’s for the safety of you and your baby. Of course giving birth naturally is the way to go… but birth plans don’t always go to plan. It pays to listen to your doctor. If you have a private doctor, you are paying them for their professional advice.

3. The operating room is clinical. It’s cold and in some ways intimidating seeing the bright lights and instruments being prepared for the delivery. When I was in the operating room, I just had grateful thoughts that I could be awake to see the birth and that I was in a First World Country where a C-section delivery was available.

4. The operating room will seem crowded. There’s you and your partner, then your anesthetist and their assistant, your obstetrician, maybe three to fourmidwives to help with the operation. And then there will be a paedetrician to check your baby after the delivery.

5. Your knees will nervously shake as the anesthetist places the spinal block or epidural into your spine. It’s normal to be scared and have the random thought of worst case scenarios of becoming a paraplegic. In those times I think of how many women have had epidurals and have walked afterwards to tell the tale. I also pray like hell that the anesthetist aims at the right spot.

6. You know the spinal block is working when you feel your legs go hot. The sensation moves up your legs and it kind of feels like you wet your pants. Your feet may feel like they are on fire. Mine did and sadly I have had nerve damage in my feet which will heal over time. Fingers crossed.

7. Once the epidural or spinal block works, you will be placed on a bed and a sheet will be held up above your face so that you and your partner won’t see your insides being moved around when the baby is delivered. You feel pressure and movement as your obstetrician pulls your baby out from your tummy. Some find this weird. I found it fascinating.blue sheet8. You will be on strong pain medication that may make you dopey and sleepy. Don’t say no to the drugs because you want to be pain free as much as you can so you can enjoy holding your baby.

9. Just beware that all those drugs may make you constipated. Drink pear juice to help get things moving. Some women don’t poo for days.

10. Just because you have had a C-section doesn’t mean you can’t carry or hold your baby. If you have older children, you won’t be able to lift them up.

11. When you sneeze, cough or laugh, you will need to hold a pillow to your incision to prevent pain and feeling like your wound is opening up.

12. Your scar will get itchy and there will be nothing you can do about it. You may acquire a jelly belly after multiple C-sections as it can be hard to keep that area taut.

13. You may be able to have a vaginal birth after a C-section, but it’s not always recommended. Once you deliver one way, it’s best to use the same method in the future. But make the best decision for you. Personally, I knew what to expect with my C-sections and didn’t want to run the risk of a rupture… especially after having my children close together.

14. You can have multiple C-section births, but the operation may take longer due to all the scar tissue from previous births. Again speak to your doctor or midwife on how you can safely deliver the number of children you would like after having a C-section.

15. Check with your insurer on whether you can drive after a C-section. Most suggest you can drive after 2 weeks; others won’t cover you until after 6 weeks.

16. The last point is to remember that you are NOT a failure for not giving birth ‘naturally’. Remember the reason you decided to have a baby. There is no applause if you give birth naturally or by C-section. Both methods produce the same beautiful result in the end.


What tips can you add after having a C-section?

Rebecca Senyard

Rebecca Senyard is a plumber by day and stylist by night but these days she changes more nappies than washers. She is a happily married mum to three young daughters who she styles on a regular basis. Rebecca is not only an award winning plumber, she also writes an award winning blog called The Plumbette where she shares her life experiences as a plumber and mother. Rebecca also blogs at Styled by Bec believing a girl can be both practical and stylish. Links to the blogs are http://www.theplumbette.com.au and http://www.styledbybec.com.au/blog

28 thoughts on “Sixteen Things You Need to Know About Having a C-section

  1. AvatarJane

    Just be aware that hip displaysia is more common after a C section. Especially in female children. Do NOT swaddle your child after a C section. Make sure you encourage correct hip placement in baby carriers etc.

    1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

      Hi Jane, you are absolutely right and all three of my girls had x-ray’s to check their hips. All were fine. I should have mentioned this when I wrote the post. I do know of one other mum who’s daughter did have to wear a brace for 6 weeks due to having a C-section because her daughter was also in a breech position. Thank you so much for your comment to help other mums. 🙂

      1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

        I agree with you that it’s not important in the long run, but I’m glad Cheryl brought this up because some first time mums don’t realize that their baby may be delivered naturally with a cone or odd shaped head due to giving birth/assistance due to delivery. 🙂

    1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

      Very true. Not that there is anything wrong with a newborn coming out with a different shaped head due to delivery, but this can be a big surprise to first time mums thinking that when they give birth naturally their baby’s head will be round. Most C-section babies do have a round head. 🙂

  2. AvatarJudy

    I am glad you found your caesarian experiences were good. It is also great that you are trying to help other women out with your tips.
    I hope they realise that not only have you given tips but also opinions which, unfortunately are not backed by solid scientific evidence.
    There is much evidence which shows that many caesarians are not done for life saving reasons and could be prevented with better care. Having worked in labour wards I have seen many convenience surgeries done. Evidence is also showing that CS is not as safe as previously thought and is also showing that it is safer to have a VBAC if at all possible (which it should be possible most of the time). I have attended hundreds over the years with no major problems.
    You are correct in saying that you can have multiple CS but evidence is showing that it gets more difficult and dangerous each time.
    Women reading your article may want to do further reading on these points.

    1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

      Judy, thanks so much for your comment and yes you are right that these tips are from my point of view, but I’m also sharing what I was told by my obstetrician too. In fact two obstetricians because the one I wanted to do the delivery was on holidays when I was due. But I am no medical expert, but I did pay good money to get the best care for me and my baby. Are you a midwife or do you work with delivering babies? It sounds like you have a lot of experience and I love that you have spoken up about the issues I may have brushed over without meaning to. You are right to say that you can have a VBAC after C-section but I asked my Doctor for his advice and he gave me the information needed so I could make an informed choice. Thanks so much for being apart of the community. 🙂

  3. AvatarZippy Lou

    i disagree with the wording on no. 13. This is out dated thinking, & there is no evidence for saying “it’s best to give birth the same way in the future”. Depending on the reasons for a c-section, a VBAC is very possible, no more risky than a c-section, & much easier to recover from. Add in that you’ll have toddlers or other children to care for and a VBAC (if possible) is a better choice for mum and baby.

    1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

      Hi Zippy Lou, thanks for your comment. I just made an informed choice after my doctor/s gave me the information I needed to know. My recovery was great. I healed well and I had no issues, but of course, not every woman will experience this. I just wanted to share a positive side to C-sections without being biased on which way to give birth. Natural all the way so long as mum and baby are safe. 🙂

  4. AvatarDeb

    The big advantage of having a CS is so you can pick the day? A Friday op ensures your baby’s first birthday is on a Saturday? Oh come off it please!!

    1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

      Hi Deb, I’m sorry, that does sound ridiculous doesn’t it? Just a bit of history so you know my heart when writing that, I had Phoebe 8 months ago and the choice of dates I was given from the hospital were my 30th Birthday which was on the Wednesday or on the Friday. I chose the Friday so Phoebe could have her own special day for her Birthday. I’ve started to plan her 1st Birthday and realized that giving birth to her on the Friday has resulted in her Birthday falling on a Saturday this year. This was all in the back of my mind when writing that part of the post. It’s not a big advantage of having a C-section. It was meant to be tongue in cheek, but I guess it doesn’t read that way. 🙂

  5. Avatarsimone

    and could you also, for safety and complete information,mention the severely increased risk of placenta accreta with c section and multiple c section.. this can be life and fertility threatening!!!! something women may want to read up about when making birthing decisions. C section is a valid choice but it does need to be an informed choice please re do this article with actual information women might be interested in knowing when choosing their birth method such as delayed milk coming in, pain, infection, bleeding risks and benefits such as planning and calm planned c section. im glad your c sections were fabulous but it is still major surgery which seems to be something we all forget in this day and age. Yes there are pros and cons to a vaginal birth too but to suggest that things women should want to know about their c section would be as simple as schedule it for a friday so the 1st birthday is on a saturday i believe does a disservice to women every where

    1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

      Thanks Simone for pointing this out. Now that you mention it I can vaguely remember my doctor telling me about placenta accreta when I was freaking out that I would be putting my body through a C-section delivery 16 months apart. Thankfully I didn’t experience this and my doctor was brilliant at giving me the risks and info I didn’t want to hear in a calm manner.
      I was informed of all the risks by my doctor. If I typed all of the risks of getting pregnant and giving birth naturally or by c-section, NONE of us would have children. I state implicitly in my post to talk to your doctor and listen to what he/she says when it comes to delivery. Make an informed choice. The responsibility is up to each of us to make an informed choice on how we give birth. I’ve shared my experience and I’ve been a bit tongue in cheek and positive about giving birth by a C-section. Please don’t attack my wording that I’m doing a disservice to women everywhere. If you read my personal blog about the births of my girls you would rethink that statement.

  6. AvatarJan

    My first was a c section as she was breech . I then went onto have another 4 children all VBACs, all fine . I didn’t want that awful recovery time you go through after a c section and if I’d stuck with all c sections I may not have been able to have the number of children I did and maybe wouldn’t have the 5 beautiful children I have today

    1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

      Awesome Jan, thanks so much for sharing your story. My doctor didn’t recommend this for me and after making my own informed choice, I decided to have C-sections. I recovered well from all of mine. The last C-section was a little harder to recover from but it was still manageable and I did organize for my husband to help me with my older two children. 🙂

  7. AvatarLisa

    Haters gonna hate.
    So much pressure is put on women to go natural. I love asking all the women who’ve gone “natural” if they had drugs. If you had any pain relief it’s a vaginal birth, not a natural. Natural, vaginal or caesarian… Who cares so long as you and your baby are healthy and happy. I was traumatised after attempting vaginal for a day and a half with my first and then when she was finally cut out of me she was non responsive and required resuscitation. I planned for a VBAC with my second but my body had other ideas. I developed polyhydramnious and obstetric cholestasis so he had to come early and being induced is not an option for VBAC. I won’t let anyone make me feel I made the wrong decisions. Both my children were born and loved, nothing more natural than that.

    1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

      LOVE your comment Lisa. Thank you for sharing it. It sounds like you had some scary stuff happen with your births but like you said you have beautiful children as a result. I don’t regret any of my decisions on how I gave birth. 🙂

  8. AvatarDebs

    i had to have c section and although I wasn’t keen, it ended up being a great experience. Baby safely delivered. No pain and full recovery within a week, great team of medics and one of the midwives lifted my head up so that I could see my baby emerging from my belly. Amazing experience!

    1. AvatarBec @ The Plumbette

      Beautiful Debs. It sounds like we shared similar birth experiences. My intent in writing this post was not to be pro C-section. It was simply meant to share a positive experience when all you hear is negative. When I fell pregnant with my third baby, it was unexpected and I had a 9 month old and 3 year old. I went online to Dr Google (as you do) and searched having C-sections close together and there was so much negativity, I thought I would die on the operating table. My Dr was lovely to tell me what I needed to know and reassure me that all would be fine, and the births did because I have three beautiful daughters to show for it. 🙂

  9. AvatarAmanda

    i had an emergency c section after days in labour. Although a little scary at the time, it was such a positive experience. My baby was delivered safely and is perfectly healthy, which might not have been the case if I continued to try and deliver vaginally. My recovery was also amazingly quick, ironically I was in much better shape than my friend who delivered naturally the same day, she couldn’t sit for days yet, I was up and walking the same day! Everyone is different. I really wish people would stop making women think that if you deliver naturally recovery will always be quick and easy!

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