Have you just had an emergency C-Section?

birth trauma c-section recovery emergency c-section May 19, 2021
emergency C-section resources

If you’ve had an Emergency C-section you may be wondering what happened. One minute you are planning a natural birth, and the next, you were under lights on the operating table.

If your C-section was unexpected, there might be a big gap in your knowledge. In fact, you may not know anything about C-sections and now you have a new baby and stitches.                                                  

Let’s take a look below at some more information on emergency C-sections, to demystify the process.


What are the C-section Categories?

If you had an emergency C-section it’s likely it would have been recorded as a Category 1, 2 or 3.

C-sections are categorised into four groups, and this is how the medical team may have decided to proceed with your emergency C-section:

Category 1: Urgent delivery with immediate threat to life of woman or fetus. This category is life threatening, and accordingly, this category of caesarean is aimed to be done within 30 minutes.

Category 2: Maternal or fetal compromise requiring rapid delivery. This accounts for most emergency caesareans and are mostly are done about an hour after the decision is made.

Category 3: Maternal or fetal compromise requiring early delivery.

Category 4: Delivery at a time to suit maternity services and the woman.

Although to you, it probably felt unsettling, maybe scary, C-sections are actually fairly common.


How common are C-sections?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports the world Caesarean birth rate, as 29% of all births.

That's nearly a third of births, globally. Of the 29% ,10-15% are performed because of complications.


The emotional toll post emergency Caesarean Birth:

Although it can be fairly standard surgery, for the best outcome for the mother and baby, it can still leave you coping with a huge array of emotions, a fruit salad of thoughts and feelings. 

You may feel shock, disbelief, guilt, resentment, relief, shame, overjoyed, grateful, fear, anxiety, overwhelm, ecstatic, proud, fearless, achiever, survivor, brave, shattered dreams.

Phew. That’s a lot to deal with post-birth. That’s why…


Debrief is critical to facilitate a positive postpartum experience.

Many women are happy after an emergency C-Section, but for many women the shock and speed of action can leave them dazed, confused and fearful with many unanswered questions. It can be a chaotic time, even though it produced such a beautiful baby.

It is so important to write down your questions and make time with your Doctor, Midwife or counsellor, specially trained in birth trauma, to help you make sense of what happened.

If the birth was very traumatic, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop.

 Symptoms of PTSD include-:

  • intrusive memories or flashbacks, which make you feel anxious and panicked
  • avoiding anything that reminds you of the birth, like television programs or conversations about childbirth
  • sleep problems, angry outbursts and difficulty concentrating

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is very important to see a healthcare professional. There are a lot of networks out there that can help, including PANDA

Make sure you give yourself the time, space and chance to confront what happened, and to work through your emotions. This is especially important if you are planning future pregnancies, it can be a difficult thing to work through.

You may need help to get your head around what’s what when recovering from major surgery while caring for a newborn baby.


Don’t forget you are recovering from MAJOR surgery, combined with round-the-clock baby care.

It’s hard to recover, as well as caring for your new baby, and that’s why it’s so important to mobilise a support network. In fact, this is the key, to enhancing your post-surgery period.

It’s not possible, or realistic, to expect yourself to be able to do all the tasks you could before, so understand your limits, and give yourself a break.

Send out an SOS to friends and family if you can, because if you can enlist some help, it will set you up for a smooth strong and confident post-partum.


Post-operative challenges to be aware of when planning your support.

There can be a few things that you might need to consider in your recovery period.

  • Fatigue associated with major surgery
  • Pain on exertion
  • Driving in the early weeks
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Constipation
  • Laundering and hanging clothes
  • Standing for long periods

You body will get stronger, and heal, but initially be aware of how taxing these things can be on your body.

You’ve got this.

An emergency C-section might not have been how your pictured your birth to go. In fact, it might have been the very last outcome you expected or wanted.

It will take some time to recover from this. Be kind and gentle to yourself, and allow yourself to deal with your feelings. But not shame. Shame has no place in C-Section recoveries.

You did an amazing job birthing, and you will also do an amazing job as a mother.

Post emergency C-section we have some other resources that might help, take a look at what the first 24 hours of recovery look like, and some things about the C-section Scar that you might not know


Take our questionnaire toΒ  identify your score.

We won't send spam