Many babies are born by C-section and if you are planning one, or unexpectedly end up with one, you should feel proud of yourself for carrying your baby. A C-section birth is just as special and wonderful as a vaginal birth. Plus-size moms are twice as likely to have C-sections as other women, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk.
Reduce Your Risk of C-Section
To reduce your risk of C-section:
- Try to stay within the weight gain guidelines your physician gives you.
- Remain active during your pregnancy.
- Control gestational diabetes if you have it.
- Take a childbirth preparation class.
- Walk during labor and change positions frequently.
- Get an epidural if it will help you relax.
- Choose a doctor and hospital with low C-section rates.
- Talk to your doctor about longer active labors in plus-size women.
Adhesions occur when your internal organs stick to each other after surgery. They are very common after C-sections and plus-size moms may be more prone to them. Adhesions can cause pain and they can also affect your future fertility. Fortunately, physicians can now use a special treatment during surgery that drastically reduces the risk of adhesions. If you have a C-section, ask your physician if he or she will be using this product. If not, ask why not.
Blood clots are a risk after any surgery and to prevent them, you need to get up and walk as soon as you are able to. It can feel impossible to think about getting up the same day as your surgery, but it not only will prevent blood clots, but it will get your intestines moving so you can pass gas sooner and be allowed to eat solid foods.
Wound care is also very important after a C-section. Make sure your wound stays clean and dry. If it looks red or oozes, you need to call attention to it with a nurse or doctor. You may need to lay on your back and gently lift your stomach up to allow air to circulate in that area a few times a day.
After your C-section, the hospital may provide you with a girdle that makes your abdomen feel more comfortable. After the surgery things may feel very loose, as if they are all falling out, and an abdominal garment can really make you feel better. Unfortunately, many hospitals don’t have these in large sizes, so they may try to squeeze you into one that is too small. This can be painful. Instead, ask that a nurse wrap a towel around you and pin it shut, or press a pillow against your tummy when you are up and about.
Recovering from a C-section is often not as bad as it might sound. Moms who have had C-sections will tell you without question that it does hurt and the first few days are rough. However, unlike any other kind of surgery you might have, you have an incredible motivation (your baby) to move past the pain. Most moms have an incredible drive to get up and on their feet so they can care for their babies.
However, it’s easy to take on too much too soon. Let your spouse and family members do things for you. Don’t assume that when you get home it’s business as usual. Worry about nothing other than yourself and the baby. Sleep when you can. The combination of a baby who seems to rarely sleep, combined with the momentous change of having given birth, and the physical distress of having had surgery packs a huge wallop. Do not underestimate it. If you don’t take the time to rest now, you will pay for it in the coming months.
Many moms say that they found it very difficult to get out of bed after the surgery, even after they had been home for a while. Having someone help you get up is one option, but if you’re home alone with the baby, you need to devise a way to get yourself up with the least amount of pain. Sleeping in a semi-reclined position can make it easier to get up. Having a chair right next to the bed gives you something to grab onto and pull yourself up with. Some women lie on their sides, facing the edge of the bed and slowly push themselves upright. One mom has reported sleeping with her head at the foot of the bed and tying a rope onto the headboard. When she had to get up, she used her arms to pull herself to a sitting position by walking them down the rope.
There are several good books about C-sections, including Cesarean Recovery by Chrissie Gallagher-Mundy and What If I Have a C-Section by Rita Rubin.