After a woman finds out she is pregnant, there are often a lot of thoughts running through her mind and many different things to consider. After all of the excitement about gender reveals and picking out names has subsided, going to birthing classes and thinking about labor is often the next step. For most women, it is simply assumed that she will try for a natural birth. C-sections are rarely chosen unless a doctor deems that it is necessary in advance for the health of the mother and the baby. There is so much information about having natural births, home births, water births, or just how you will get to the hospital when your water breaks.
Often times, women who are expecting will do a lot of research on whether they want to take medicine or get an epidural. They may even think about who will be allowed in the delivery room with them. However, very little research is done on how to handle a c-section and what the recovery process will be like because most women simply don’t assume that they will have one. Because of this, there are a lot of things that new moms don’t realize and wish someone told them before they had their c-section, and here are 20 of them.
20 It Is A Major Surgery
For some odd reason, nobody seems to tell expecting mothers that a c-section is a major surgery. Often times, moms who end up having a c-section are expecting it to be this simple procedure because they hear of it happening so often. And, while it is a common alternative to a natural birth, it’s important to remember that it’s not just a minor incision. According to Healthline.com, there are still major risks associated with a c-section that expecting mothers should be aware of. One major thing to consider is that a c-section can create complications for future pregnancies and deliveries because it’s a major surgery.
19 Getting Out Of Bed Will Kill
It’s hard to imagine caring for a newborn baby right after a major surgery. The things that moms have to go through are truly remarkable. However, after a c-section, the simplest things will feel like a nightmare. Even just getting out of bed will take so much energy and cause so much pain right after your delivery. And, it makes sense. You were literally just cut open and sewed back together. If there is any chance you think you might have a c-section, it would be helpful to have some extra family around to help you do simple things like getting out of bed.
18 It’s Okay To Take Medication
For some reason, a lot of new moms feel guilty for taking medication after giving birth. Perhaps it’s this idea that some of the medication will get into your breastmilk, or simply a mindset of medicine being weak or unnatural. However, it is so important for moms who have gone through a c-section to realize that taking medication is okay. The better you feel in your body, the better mom you are going to be to your baby. And, according to MayoClinic.org, most pain relief medication is safe for breastfeeding moms to take. So, stressing about this stuff while you are in pain and dealing with a newborn is something that should have definitely been handled before your c-section.
17 Little Things Will Hurt
Often times, we don’t understand how painful a surgery truly is until after you go through it. You realize how much you took for granted the basic daily activities and bodily functions that you once were able to do without even thinking. Before your c-section, it will be important to mentally prepare for the fact that every little thing will hurt like coughing, laughing, and definitely sneezing. Sometimes mentally preparing for this pain will already build your tolerance up and put you in the correct mindset. When the pain of surgery and a c-section catches you off guard, it can really hinder your first moments and days with your newborn.
16 Ice Is Your Friend
After all the pain of surgery and recovery, a bag of ice will honestly sound like the most appealing thing after a c-section. According to Whattoexpect.com, ice is best used around 24 hours after your surgery in order to reduce swelling. It can also help with some of the pain that you are feeling. However, ice, or anything cold, can also cause circulation to stop which isn’t the best for an area that’s healing. So, it’s also important to switch off and use heat if you are in pain. A heating pad on a low setting can feel really good after your surgery.
15 Numbness Is Normal
Another thing that is nice to know before your c-section is that numbness afterward is normal. Sometimes women get scared that they can’t feel anything and they assume something has gone wrong. But, according to Verywellhealth.com, numbness around the incision area is common after surgeries. This is because nerves may have been damaged during the c-section process. However, sensation usually returns in the months following the surgery so there is no need to worry or freak out if you can’t feel certain areas right after your c-section. While this may sound unfortunate, it’s better to be aware of what could occur than to simply be surprised.
14 Accept Help!
Accepting help is something that new moms rarely want to do. Not only do they want to be there for their baby every moment, but they also want to feel like a good mom. They want to feel like they can do it and they can handle it all. Unfortunately, sometimes we can’t and recognizing this early is a good thing. Realizing that it’s okay to accept help will decrease your stress and anxiety levels. Remember that this isn’t going to be the case forever and even though your baby needs you, you need to heal from your surgery. Prioritizing yourself and your own wellbeing will ultimately benefit your baby as well.
13 Be Careful How You Move
Sometimes us moms can get a little overconfident. We may feel like our body would never fail us and that it’s mind over matter. While it’s great to have such a strong will, it is also very important to remember that your body is not bulletproof and if you push yourself too far you could hurt yourself. Your stitches could rip, you could start bleeding, or even get an infection. According to Self.com, recovering from a c-section is surprisingly challenging and often much harder than anticipated. It’s important to remember to take things easy and be careful how you move because overdoing it could cause more problems than it’s worth.
12 You Are A Priority, Too
As a mom, it is so easy to put yourself last on the priority list. We always say our kids come first, but sometimes prioritizing yourself is what’s best for your kids. Remembering this after your c-section is essential because you really are a priority. You just came out of a major surgery. And, ultimately, your health and wellbeing are what will benefit your newborn in the long run. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help or say you can’t do something. Often times the people around you can be well-meaning but clueless. Sometimes they just need to be told what you need and they will be happy to help.
11 No Heavy Lifting
You might not think that your newborn is all that heavy, but when you add on the diaper bag, and your purse, and maybe a couple blankets, your hands can get filled pretty quickly. According to AmericanPregnancy.org, the days following a c-section are challenging and new moms need to give their bodies time to heal. This no heavy lifting rule is so important to remember if you have other young kids at home who are used to climbing all over you and getting picked up. Understanding what your limitations will be before your c-section surgery is a great rule of thumb to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that you don’t overdo it and hurt yourself.
10 No Driving For A While
It might sound like common sense not to drive yourself home from the hospital right after a surgery. But, it’s also important to realize that if you end up getting a c-section, you won’t be driving for weeks after your surgery. Knowing this in advance will allow for plans to be made about how you will get where or who will fill in for you while you’re recovering. According to TheBump.com, the typical time doctors say not to drive is about two to three weeks or until you are off of your pain medication. However, waiting a few weeks ensures that your stitches won’t get ripped by your seatbelt if you are forced to abruptly slam on the breaks.
9 Keep An Eye Out For Infections
It’s easy to leave the hospital after your c-section and enter full-on mom mode where your life revolves around your baby and you end up sacrificing your own wellbeing for a while. Although this is totally normal, moms who had a c-section need to make sure that they watch their surgery area closely to make sure it doesn’t get infected. According to Healthline.com, if you start noticing redness, swelling, or pus around the incision area then it’s extremely important to get treated for an infection early. This will help you avoid more serious complications down the road and ultimately allow you to heal faster.
8 A Little Swelling Is Normal
While swelling can be a warning sign for an infection, it’s also good to keep in mind that a little swelling is normal. According to CheckPregnancy.com, some women will experience swelling in their legs after the procedure which can be normal for some. However, c-sections do increase your risk of blood clots and so it’s always important to notify your doctor if you do see swelling. It could be normal and nothing to worry about or it could be more serious. So, just knowing that it is something to look out for is good information before a mom-to-be even goes in for her surgery.
7 Walking Will Help But Don’t Overdo It
Since a lack of physical activity can cause blood clots, it’s better to try to remain somewhat active. However, after surgery that’s pretty impossible to do. New moms are walking a fine line of staying active enough to keep the blood flowing and remain healthy, while also allowing their body enough time to rest and heal up properly. According to Webmd.com, it’s important to get out of bed and walk around within 24 hours after surgery. But, it’s important to keep things gentle and light in the beginning. Gentle exercises after a few days are okay and deep breathing is also recommended.
6 Hormones Make Everything Worse
Everyone knows that when you are pregnant your hormones begin to run wild. The thing is, this doesn’t automatically go away after you give birth. Your emotions are so heightened and sometimes new moms can even fall into postpartum depression. All of these hormones don’t make the c-section process any easier. In fact, hormones make having a c-section worse. Just knowing that your pain tolerance, patience, and emotional stability are all low will provide a little bit of comfort when it comes to your recovery. According to Clarkcondenced.com, your hormones being out of whack is just one more thing to add to the list.
5 Regret Is Normal
Regret is a weird thing. Sometimes we feel it for the oddest of reasons even when it doesn’t seem like we have anything to feel guilty about. New moms sometimes begin to regret their decision to have a c-section. Maybe they begin to feel like they should have labored longer or they gave up too soon. Perhaps you scheduled your c-section and feel like you didn’t even try for a natural birth. There are a million reasons new moms give for why they feel guilty, but ultimately the most important thing is a healthy mom and a healthy baby. If that was what the end result was, work to let go of that regret.
4 C-Sections Are Still Real Births
Weirdly enough there are still people in society who will try to tell moms that having a c-sections wasn’t a “real birth.” Maybe they are just bitter about the pain that they went through during their natural birth. But, it’s important to be prepared for shocking and insensitive comments. People will always try to act like they know your body and what’s best for your baby better than you do. If you constantly keep reminding yourself that c-sections are just as much a real birth as anything else, you will be able to stand up to the criticism better. And, sometimes it’s nice to just remind yourself of this as well.
3 Recovery Takes A Long Time
A lot of moms want to jump into motherhood full force right after their c-section. While this desire is totally natural and understandable, it is also important to remember that your body needs to heal and it will take a lot longer than you anticipate. According to Healthline.com, a c-section is a major surgery and you will need to remain in the hospital for three to four days after delivery, depending on if there are complications. And, it will also take up to six weeks for your body to fully heal and recover from the surgery and this time frame is important to keep in mind.
2 The Days Will Get Easier
Motherhood is hard and recovering from a surgery at the same time is no walk in the park. Some days will feel like they are never-ending. Sometimes the smallest little things like going to the bathroom or getting out of bed will kill. But, in the midst of these moments just try to remember that it will get better. You will keep suffering through the same pain and then one day you will realize that it’s getting easier. Getting no sleep, being in constant pain from your surgical scar, and feeling exhausted will eventually become manageable. So, if you feel like you are going to break down from the pain and stress, hang in there.
1 Your Scar Will Heal
While some people may view this as shallow, many new moms are devastated at the thought of having a c-section scar on their body forever. It can honestly be traumatic and something that should be okay to talk about. According to Parents.com, there are many creams and scar-care tips that will help it heal and become less obvious. But, at the end of the day, that scar is a symbol of the life you created and that in itself is a beautiful thing. So, although your scar will heal and won’t be as major as you once thought, it can also be something that represents a beautiful time in your life.
References: Healthline.com, Mayoclinic.org, TheBump.com, Whattoexpect.com, Verywellhealth.com, Self.com, AmericanPregnancy.org, TheBump.com, Healthline.com, CheckPregnancy.com, Webmd.com, Clarkcondensed.com, Healthline.com, Parents.com