A Cesarean Section Is Major Surgery

More than just a means of bringing your baby into the world, a cesarean section is major surgery. How will you feel after giving birth by c-section? Childbirth educator and author Linda B Jenkins has some answers.
Linda Jenkins, RN

Your question
Due to a medical condition, I know I will be having a Cesarean section. How will I feel afterwards? - Kathleen, Ontario

The expert answers
Often with so much focus on a shared, awake experience prior to delivery, a woman recovering from a surgical birth may be disappointed. This may be due in part to unfulfilled expectations, but may also be part of a postpartum depression syndrome. In this case, the woman may be blaming the type of delivery for a very common, poorly-understood phenomenon. One of the best ways to decrease this postpartum depression is by getting adequate rest.

There may also be physical discomforts, as with any abdominal surgery, such as:
  1. Gas: Walk it out and watch your diet. The first day after birth you may start out with clear liquids, progressing during the next couple of days to a regular diet. For the first few regular diet days, continue to avoid gas-producing foods, such as beans, cabbage and onions.
  2. Soreness and inability to bound out of bed: This will improve with time and rest, but take advantage of the side rail on those hospital beds. Roll over on your side and pull up on them, rather than expecting to immediately sit straight up.
Another common feeling, especially with women who were not awake when the baby was born, has been described as the "missing link" syndrome: you go to surgery pregnant, wake up without any time seeming to have passed, and find you are now empty of that new life. You may feel a sense of loss and guilt over not feeling very maternal -- it is even common for women not to ask about the infant. This, too, will pass with time. It may be helpful to know you are not the only one who has experienced this, and to discuss the details of the birth with your healthcare provider and support person. Often, pictures taken during the birth can be of help in filling in some of the missing details, to make the experience more beliveable to you.

Extreme shaking after delivery (either vaginal or surgical) is not fully understood, but is very common. Emotions may be one contributor, but so, too, might be hormonal changes, blood loss and/or exhaustion. Holding the shaking extremeties, deep cleansing breaths and warm blankets may help. Another cause of the shakes may be the common concern of many new mothers: the well-being of the infant. If that is the case, nothing will reassure you like touching and/or seeing your newborn child.PregnancyAndBaby.com

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Comments

Chas September 26, 2013
I decided to do a med-free birth in a birnhitg center with an OB because, and only because, it made the most sense for me, my body, and my priorities. Throughout my pregnancy, I met countless women who planned on similar natural deliveries, but it seemed that they had come to their decisions out of anger they had a bone to pick with modern medicine and they regarded many fellow moms as failures. I still encounter a lot of this anger when it comes to parenting choices: how people put their babies to sleep, whether they wear or stroll them, whether they vaccinate, how they introduce solid foods, etc. They only way to make your peace with your birth and parenting choices is to be absolutely certain that you are acting out of respect for your own family and values, not out of some need to make a statement, prove someone wrong, or solely to go against the grain.
Preethi November 06, 2012
When I delivered my son I underwent an emergency C-Section, because the baby'sposition was not favourable after the pain induction. I felt like everything went wrong, because I was excepting natural delivery. Once I became conscious after surgery I felt very depressed and was crying in the ICU for hours. Nurses and Doctor came to me asking why I was crying. But I didn't like to share any of my feelings to anybody. I felt that nobody can console me at that time. In fact I didn't wanted to see my new born or my husband or anybody whom I knew. It was a bad experience I had. It took almost 6 months to recover from post partam depression. But nobody around me could understand what I underwent except my close friend.

Preethi