C-Section FAQs: Everything you need to know about C-Sections

c-section education c-section recovery caesarean scar emergency c-section healing post c-section Jun 22, 2021

What just happened…? If you've just had an emergency C-Section, you might be left wondering what just happened.

If a Caesarean birth wasn’t in the birth plan, or even if it was, sometimes in between the hustle and bustle of getting used to a new baby, feeding and sleeping, you might not have much time left to learn what happened in your recent operation.

Let’s take a look below at some questions, and terminology of C-Sections, so you can discover all about the procedure and what your body has just undergone.

Let’s start with the basics…

What is a C-Section?:

It’s a surgical procedure to remove your baby. Instead of vaginally, the baby is removed via incisions made in your abdomen and uterus. Once the surgeon has made the incisions, your baby is pulled through the incision.

It might be a different method to extract or remove your baby, but a C-Section is birth. A valid, and normal birth. Please remember that!

It may be different from what you planned, but Caesarean's are still giving birth.

How many layers do they cut through?

You don’t usually think about layers in your body. To remove your baby, the surgeon cut through 5 layers. The baby was protected by those 5 layers, which are:

Skin, Subcutaneous Tissue,  Rectus Abdominal Muscles, Peritoneum, and the Uterine muscle

Why did I have a C-Section?

This can be a big one to grapple with, especially post-emergency C-Section, or after a C-Section without much time to prepare for.

Birth is all about choosing the safest option for the mother, and child. We are lucky to have a health system in which the health and safety of the mother and baby is always the number one priority.

There's a variety of reasons for C-Sections, falling into the planned, or unplanned / emergency category.

If your birth was an unplanned or an emergency C-Section, it was deemed necessary to facilitate the safe and healthy arrival of your baby and your wellbeing. This is categorised into 4 categories.

What are the categories of C-Sections?

How common are C-Sections?

29% of all births globally, according to the WHO.

It's a similar C-section birth rate in Australia, with the stats being slightly higher at 33% of births per year.

That’s a pretty big statistic, so although it mightn’t be what you planned, but it’s a very common way to give birth in Australia and globally.

 

How long does a scheduled C-section take?

30 – 60 mins

 

How long does the bleeding last post-C-Section?

Once you have given birth, post-partum bleeding, known as lochia, is a normal part of the body returning to its pre-partum state.

This is no different whether you have given birth vaginally, or via C-Section.

Stock up on maternity pads, because your lochia will be heaviest in the first days post-birth, then it should decrease.

After the heaviest bleeding subsides, you can have lighter bleeding and spotting for up to 6 weeks post-birth.

But get in touch with your Doctor if the bleeding doesn’t decrease, smells strange, or you experience many clots, dizziness, or fever.

 

Can I drive a car post C-Section?

Ready to hit the open road with your new baby in tow? Unfortunately, you’ll have to hold your horses.

The time depends on your insurance company, so give them a ring, but generally, you will need to wait 4 – 6 weeks wait until driving. You won’t be insured for accidents in this period. But also it’s a good reminder your body has undergone surgery and needs time to rest and recover.

If possible, get some friends and family to help you in this initial period.

 

Can I have a vaginal birth after a C-section?

Yes, it is possible, dependent on advice given by your Obstetrician or Midwives.

Just because you have had one C-Section doesn’t automatically mean your next birth will be a C-Section. Arm yourself with knowledge and do your research for your next pregnancy, and find out what your options are.

 

What are some issues and challenges post C-Section?

Constipation (A handy resource for tackling Constipation can be found here)

Remembering to take Pain Medications (Our Post Partum Day Planner this way.)

Supporting your wound, for optimum recovery (We run a mini course on the subject.)

Allowing your body to rest and recover.

 

My wound feels numb…

This can be concerning, and something you mightn’t have been prepared for, but this is normal. After the surgery it can take a while to full sensation or feeling in the wound, and for some, the full feeling won’t return.

This does not mean it hasn’t healed properly, it’s just a side-effect of the surgery.

 

I hate the appearance of my scar.

It’s normal to have complicated feelings about your scar, and it’s true that the area might have changed from what it looked like. The scar might be a bit lumpy, or it might overhang a bit.

This is how your baby was birthed, and at Caesarcare we think you should be proud of it.

You did something brave and amazing, and your scar is proof of this.

 

When can I exercise post C-Section?

The general advice is 6 – 8 weeks, for low-impact exercise.

It’s important to remember this was major surgery, and your body needs time to heal.

Exercise is important for mental health and getting back to feeling yourself, but be kind, and don’t expect to be able to do the same high-impact exercise you could pre-pregnancy.

Leave the marathon running for now, and focus on low-impact walking or swimming, or physio led Pilates.

If you feel discomfit, a pulling sensation, or pain, stop and rest.

 

Will I recover?

Yes. C-Sections can feel overwhelming, and especially traumatic if it wasn’t the birth, you expected or planned.

But C-Sections are common surgery. Your body will heal, and the wound will recover. Give yourself time and space, and enjoy gentle exercise at the advice of your doctor.

 

I’m not coping well

That’s absolutely fine, there are lots of resources out there set up to help you.

Go and chat to your Doctor, or Maternal Health Nurse about how you are feeling.

PANDA, Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia, is a safe, judgement-free zone to look for help. They also run a hotline, from Monday – Friday 9am – 7pm if you need to chat to someone.

 

Any other questions about your C-Section?

Did we miss something you wanted to know?

Get in touch and we can answer your questions!