Preparing for a C-Section

Preparing for a C-SectionChildbirth is beautiful any way it happens and C-sections are no exception. With nearly one-third of U.S. births being C-sections, new moms welcome their babies in a variety of ways that are safest and healthiest for both mom and baby. While some C-sections are done on an emergency basis, many are scheduled based on the predetermined health status of the baby or mother. If you’re among the moms who already know exactly when and how their babies are going to be born, here’s what you should know about preparing for a c-section:

Celebrate the Transition

When you dreamed of having babies, a C-section may not have been your vision. Now that you know you’re having one, it’s time to accept that this is how your baby will enter the world and celebrate this most special event for your family. The days leading up to your baby’s birth can be a wonderful time to mark the transition from pregnancy to motherhood and emotionally prepare for the arrival of your baby. You can do this by making special wishes for your baby, lighting a candle or planning your baby’s birth-day party with older siblings.

Understand the Process

Get informed on exactly how your c-section is expected to go down. From the pre-surgical blood work and anesthesia, to the surgical procedure, to the post-op and recovery phase, get the scoop directly from your doctor. Visualizing yourself during each of the steps can help you feel in control of the process and keep you calm throughout.

Make a Plan

While much of your c-section will be routine, you can let your doctor know some of your preferences such as who you want to be in the operating room with you and who is allowed to see and hold your baby while you’re being stitched up. This is the time to express your desire to breastfeed as soon as possible after giving birth. Once it is safe for you and your baby to be reunited, you can initiate breastfeeding. Your doctor and nursing staff will likely do everything they can to make this happen quickly because everyone benefits when mothers breastfeed.

Pre-Pamper

It may be several months before you can have a leisurely lunch with girlfriends or get your nails done so do all of these things prior to your scheduled C-section date. While you’re at it, get a low-cut bikini wax or shave that area yourself before the big day. Otherwise nurses will do it for you with a disposable razor that may be harsh on your skin.

Pack Wisely

You’ll probably spend a few extra days in the hospital after a C-section so pack enough clothes, toiletries and snacks for at least four days. Loose fitting clothing is especially important after a C-section since your belly will be tender. Elastic or draw-string pants are best, or breezy nightgowns. Nursing tops and nursing bras are a must so you and your baby can practice breastfeeding early and often, and with the help of a lactation consultant if you need one. You’ll have your hands full once your baby arrives but even scheduled C-sections may involve some waiting time so bring along a book or game to play while you wait for surgery.

Follow Directions

Your doctor will likely give you some direction regarding your time prior to arriving at the hospital. These may include not eating or drinking for a certain number of hours prior to surgery. Heed these instructions because they can make a big difference during and after your procedure. (Keep in mind, if you schedule your C-section earlier in the day, you will fast overnight, which is always easier.)

Plan for Recovery

After a C-section you’ll need to take it easy. Line up some help from friends and family for anything and everything you need done including watching older kids, preparing meals and assisting with your newborn. You may not be able to lift your baby from a crib so consider a bassinette or co-sleeper that puts baby at the right level when you need to lift her for breastfeeding, diaper changes and cuddles.

Sources: Popsugar Moms, Babble, Mayo Clinic and Parenting