What do I need to Know about C-Section?

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If you are pregnant and your doctor even mentions the word C-Section, chances are a whole new level of fear runs through you. This term has been used for decades to frighten women and at many times is enough to keep women eating right and taking care of themselves through their pregnancy.

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However, if you are one of the many women who find that they are in need of a C-Section, you will want to know everything there is about it before you agree to have the procedure completed. Luckily, we have compiled the information below for that exact purpose. Here you will learn exactly what you can expect, what your recovery time will be like and the complications that sometimes come up through this surgery.

1. Complications 

First, it is important to understand that a C-Section is considered a major surgery. Although death rates related to C-Sections are fairly low, there are still risks involved and you should consider them carefully. Most of the complications come from the following areas:

Most of these issues are not major, but it is important for the mother to take care of the incision site after the surgery has been completed. Your doctor will be able to inform you as to the proper way to clean your incision and the things that you need to watch for in case of infection.

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It is also common for women who have a C-Section to develop urinary tract infection following the procedure. This is due to the catheter that is used during the procedure, but can be easily treated with antibodies.

Typically, after you have one C-Section, any birth thereafter will be delivered via C-Section. The reason behind this is due to the chance that a mother’s uterus could rupture during childbirth causing major issues for the pregnancy. In order to keep the mother and baby safe and healthy, most doctors will not allow a woman to deliver vaginally after she has a C-Section.

2. Recovery Time

Recovery time after a C-Section is substantially longer than with a vaginal delivery. However, more times than not, you will only be required to stay in the hospital for an additional day or two before being released. Depending on the materials used to close the incision, you may be required to return to the doctor after a few days to have stitches or staples removed.

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However, these days, dissolvable stitches are now common and many women are only required to see the doctor after 6 weeks, just as a woman who delivered vaginally would. It is a good idea to arrange to have someone with you for the first couple of weeks after having a C-Section.

Although you may not feel like venturing much further from your front door, you will not be able to drive during this time and will need to be taken to the doctor as appointments come up. Typically your baby is seen after a couple of days and you will probably need to be seen by the doctor soon as well.

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One major downside of having a C-Section is that you will most likely not be able to get out of bed for the first 12 to 24 hours following the surgery. This means that you will need to have someone there with you that can take care of your baby while you recover. Another thing to note is that you will also be limited on the things that you can do for your baby during this time as well.

Although you may think that you will not be able to bond with your baby after he is delivered, this is not true. You will still be able to hold and see your baby as soon as he is born and most hospitals will leave the baby with you as soon as he is clean and monitored after he is born.

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Emotionally, having a C-Section can be a bit difficult to handle. Some women feel that something is wrong with their bodies and this is the reason that they are unable to deliver vaginally. However, there are many reasons that women cannot deliver vaginally and if you fall into this category it is important not to blame yourself.

There are some steps that you can take in the attempt to avoid a C-Section, but if your baby is in danger or there are other pregnancy complications, you and your doctor may decide that a C-Section is the right step to take. Although having a C-Section is riskier than a traditional vaginal birth, it is sometimes necessary and with the advancements of technology has become a fairly safe procedure.

Dr. Lynette Weiss, MD

Dr. Lynette Weiss is ConceiveEasy's Senior Physician and Scientific Director. She is certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.