Pregnancy is a joyous time in the lives of most women. Although pregnancy is sometimes tiring and even a bit scary, most women eagerly anticipate the arrival of their newborn. Women happily prepare a birth plan and talk with their obstetrician or midwife about their thoughts regarding labor and delivery. It is rare for that discussion to include concerns or questions about cesarean section (c-section); however, rising c-section rates suggest that every woman should at least consider the possibility of facing a c-section recovery.
Although the majority of women (more than 60% of them) continue to have an uncomplicated pregnancy and childbirth experience, it is clear that cesarean sections are more common today. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, one in three American women delivered her baby by c-section in 2010. By 2007 the c-section rate in the United States rose to 32% where it remains today. Knowing the facts about c-section recovery can make every woman more comfortable and confident during her birthing experience.
Dr. Joseph Iobst, of All About Women, Obstetrics and Gynecology, says that new mothers with c-sections are often concerned that they will be bedridden or not be able to bond with or breastfeed the baby. “In reality most new mothers who undergo a c-section will be out of bed the next day or sooner and will be interacting with their newborn immediately.” He adds that “though they will have to minimize their activity and exercise secondary to the healing of their incision” they are usually able to breastfeed and walk around within a few hours.
New mothers with c-sections also worry about picking up their newborn due to pain in the incision site. And they are concerned about the effects of pain medication on their newborn. Most of these concerns can be eased with some planning and discussion with the doctor. In fact, says Dr. Iobst, “there are new medications available for incision pain that are administered directly to the incision site. This allows new moms to minimize the amount of pain medication they take orally.”
“We encourage our new moms with c-sections to pick up their infants, breastfeed, and bond with their babies immediately” says Dr. Agrios of All About Women, Obstetrics and Gynecology. “We just counsel them in the best way to do that.” Concerns about the destruction of muscles around the incision site are also addressed by Dr. Agrios. “We explain to our patients that under most circumstances no muscles are cut but only stretched.” The mother will be sore but she will recover quickly.
Every mother-to-be hopes that she will have an easy, uncomplicated labor and delivery. However, if a woman does undergo a c-section she will still be able to experience all the joys that come with the birth of new baby. And in reality, all new moms have questions about the recovery process. “Whether she experiences an uncomplicated delivery or one that requires more direct intervention by myself or one of our midwives, I like to tell my patients that no question or concern is too small or too big to discuss.” The best way to enjoy that new baby is to separate fact from fiction by communicating with the experts throughout the pregnancy and the recovery process.
Story originally published in Giggle Magazine