5 Things I Wish I Knew About C-Sections

I knew C-sections happen often, and I know lots of people who have had them. I have a nursing degree and I did my internship on the same labor and delivery floor of the same hospital that I delivered at. I was in the operating room for several c-sections during my internship.

But what I didn't know, was what it was like to actually have a c-section.

I didn't know what to expect afterwards.

No one had ever told me what it was really like to have one, and what to expect after mine.

I wasn't prepared for the recovery process.

Here are things I wish I had known before having my c-section. Had I known these things, I think my recovery would have been less anxiety-filled, because I would have known what to expect.

1. It is major surgery. Yes, c-sections are pretty common these days. I heard a statistic that said as many as 1/3 of babies are born this way. But still, it is major surgery.

2. Getting up to walk is ROUGH at first. It's going to hurt like heck when you get out of bed and walk for the first time, which they make you do relatively soon after surgery. You will feel like you are 100 years old and you can't stand up straight. You will likely shuffle around as you remain hunched over. This is NORMAL.

3. Each day gets a little bit better. You will feel a little bit better with every day that passes. I was told this by one of my nurses who had 4 c-sections herself and was pregnant again. I consider her an expert.

4. Take medication for the pain. You will be offered narcotics in the early days after surgery. I didn't take the narcotics because I'm prone to nausea as a side effect. But I got some IV medication that was like strong ibuprofen, and when I went home, I rotated ibuprofen and Tylenol for the first week or two. If you can stay on top of the pain, you will be able to move better and care for yourself and your baby better.

5. It hurts like crazy to cough, laugh or sneeze. Holding a pillow against your incision, or pressing on it with your hands might help a little bit. But in those early days, it's going to hurt, period. I tried my hardest not to do any of these three at first. Some places might make you practice coughing to clear your lungs. [I read that in my baby book.] No one made me do that at our hospital.

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© 2020 The Motherhood Group, Coordinators of Black Maternal Mental Health Week UK