14 Things to Expect with a Scheduled C-section
Are you pregnant, a little nervous, and wondering what to expect with a c-section?
I was in your shoes once!
Years ago, I was that mom that thought I wouldn’t use any drugs during my labor. I told myself I would push my baby out within minutes, have no complications, and even considered a home birth at one point!
Well, let’s just say that idea went out the door real fast!
I had zero intentions of having an emergency c-section! I even skipped that entire section in my pregnancy book because I believed I would have an easy and quick birth!
Yea, none of that happened to me!
In fact, my first daughter was over a week late so I was induced. I was in labor for 48 hours and pushed my little heart out until I threw up, got a very high fever, my baby’s heart rate increased dramatically, and they rushed me to the OR for an emergency c-section.
Not at all the birth plan I had in my head!
If you are a mom who knows you are having a scheduled c-section, then you have the upper hand and I’ll tell you everything I wish I knew before I had a c-section so you are prepared! After having 4 c-sections, here is what I wish someone told me before hand!
Even if you don’t expect to have a cesarean birth, I still believe learning what to expect with a c-section is good information to know! This way, you’ll be prepared for whatever delivery you end up having!
Here are 14 things to expect with a scheduled c-section!
1– You can’t eat or drink anything for 8-12 hours before your scheduled c-section.
So this was one of the hardest things for me! I’m always thirsty normally so this didn’t make it any easier!
It wasn’t even the eating part that bothered me so much as it was not being able to drink anything for 6-8 hours!
I mean, come on….are you kidding me?
You will have your scheduled c-section early in the morning to make the fasting easier on the mom. This was still tough for me because once you get to the hospital, it takes a while until you are actually on the operating table.
The best advice I can give any mama who is going to have a c-section is bring a lot of gum!
Studies show that chewing gum before surgery is safe, however, always check with your doctor first! Not every doctor agrees with this study! My nurses said that it was fine for me but every medical team is different.
Update: For my fourth c-section, my medical team did not allow me to chew gum prior to my c-section. Just be sure you ask about this because I was able to chew gum before my second and third c-section. Every doctor is different!
Another reason to stock up on gum is that interesting new studies show that women who chew gum 3 times a day after a c-section delivery help them recover faster! (Source)
So, stock up on gum to help you through this!
2– Shave down there prior to your c-section!
Yes, I said to be sure to groom yourself down there.
I normally do shave down there so this wasn’t an issue for me, thankfully. If you can’t reach or see down there, then maybe go to a salon and get waxed. That way, you won’t have to do it yourself when you’re super prego and can’t even see your feet!
Your nurses will thank you for saving them some time and you’ll be happy you took care of that as well!
My friends who weren’t groomed down there before their c-section were taken back a bit when they had to get shaved right before their surgery!
They laugh about it now, but both said they’d rather have known this piece of information beforehand so they could do it themselves!
Your doctor may advise you not to shave the day before your scheduled c-section. However, it’s fine to groom away prior to this so make sure you shave or wax your little heart out at least a few days before you are scheduled to go in!
3–You will get a catheter inserted
Like I mentioned above, I’ve had four c-sections. My first one was an emergency c-section and the nurses put the catheter in after I had my anesthesia so I didn’t feel anything.
My second cesarean was scheduled. The nurse was about to put my catheter in before I had my anesthesia/spinal. Right before she started to do insert it, she asked me if I wanted to wait until later so I didn’t feel her putting the catheter in!
I didn’t even realize this was an option but of course, I said yes, let’s wait! Why do I need to feel that?
Most hospitals won’t insert the catheter until after your anesthesia. However, if you have a nurse that wants to do it ahead of time, you can ask them to wait until you can’t feel it!
Getting a catheter isn’t exactly the most comfortable feeling in the world. Trust me, you’ll be in a ton of pain later, so spare yourself any aggravation beforehand if you can!
4–You will be cold and may have the shakes!
First of all, I hate the cold, like HATE the cold.
I’m one of those girls that should’ve been born down south. I like the snow up north but once that’s gone, I want it to be 80 degrees every day.
Let me just warn you that those operating rooms are freezing!
Doctors keep the operating room at a cooler temperature to maintain sterility and combat bacterial colonization. Also, moms are laying there wearing nothing but a hospital gown, so you’re going to be cold!!
You may also have the shakes from being so cold! This can also be caused by the anesthesia and your hormones.
You can ask the nurses to give you some warm blankets and they can wrap them around to help you with the coldness!
I think between being nervous about my c-section and the coldness, I was a shaking nervous wreck!
With my fourth cesarean, I had the shakes so bad for almost 2 hours after delivery. My doctors said it was a combination of my hormones and the anesthesia and would take a while to wear off. Finally, about 3 hours after my delivery, I stopped shaking and felt much better!
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5– You’ll have to sit very still
You will have to sit as still as possible in that very cold operating room without your significant other to get your spinal or epidural.
Your anesthetist is your BFF for a few hours!
They will show you exactly how to slouch your back so they can insert the needle. If you hate needles and are worried about this part, don’t be, you never actually see the needle.
Also, it’s not painful, just a pinch. The hardest part is staying still and knowing what is happening!
Once you start to feel the numbness in your feet, the nurses and anesthesiologist will lay you down. They are with you for the entire procedure to make sure you’re comfortable and you don’t feel any type of pain.
It was difficult for me to sit still because the room was so cold and I was shaking! It feels like a long time sitting in that room without your significant other but it all does happen very fast.
My medical team was wonderful and helped me through all of it!
Wondering what to wear after your c-section that won’t irritate your incision? Click the photo below!
6– Your significant other can see your insides and the entire c-section procedure if they want
Some dads are very into this and others can’t stomach it at all. My husband looked a little bit but I told him I’d prefer he didn’t.
Why didn’t I want him to look?
Because I was completely freaked out myself! The only view I had was my husband’s face to keep me calm.
If my husband made a face that was disturbing or scared him, then I’d get completely freaked out even more!
I needed him to be calm to calm me down if that makes any sense! LOL
He did peak every so often and saw a lot when he went over to help clean up our daughter. He didn’t tell me anything about it until later which was good.
The thought of my insides laying there bugged me out pretty bad! Everyone feels different about this so it’s totally up to you and your hubby what works for you both and will make you comfortable.
7– There will be pressure!
You won’t feel any pain but you WILL FEEL ABDOMINAL PRESSURE!
Just remember this!
The pressure was worse for me with my first cesarean because I was having long labor before my c-section. I felt a ton of pressure when they were pulling my first baby out.
It didn’t hurt at all, just felt completely weird!
My second and third c-sections, I also feel pressure but not as much because they were planned and I didn’t go through hours of labor with them.
Just remember, the pressure doesn’t hurt, just feels super strange! But the outcome is totally worth it! 🙂
8– Baby comes out quickly!
It honestly doesn’t take long at all once they lay you back and call in your husband or significant other to join you. If this is your first c-section or you don’t have any scar tissue from previous c-sections, then getting the baby out happens fast!
You’ll feel the pressure for a little bit but once they pull the baby out from your uterus, then the pressure stops.
The nurses and your anesthesiologist will talk you through it and tell you to take deep breaths because your baby is almost here!
9– Delayed cry after birth
Your baby may not cry right away!
I sooooo wish someone had told me this! I’m not kidding here, this scared the crap out of me.
We’ve all watched those movies of a mom delivering her baby and the second the doctor pulls the baby out, you hear the baby cry, right?
Yea, don’t expect that with a c-section!
I wasn’t aware of this and once they said she was here, it was the longest 1-2 minutes of my life before my baby cried!
A baby may not cry right away due to the pain medication the mother was given, if the mother was pushing for a long time, or other complications. Some babies who are delivered through cesarean may just need time to transition out of uterine life.
They may also need the fluid suctioned out of their nose and mouth in order for them to dry. You can read more about the reasons for delayed cry after birth here.
This is what happened to my daughter. Once the nurses suctioned the fluids from her mouth and nose, she let out a loud cry and it was the best noise I ever heard in my life!
Are you all ready for your baby’s arrival? Be sure to read this third trimester checklist for a scheduled c-section! Tips to make sure you have everything you need before baby comes!
10–Stitching you back up feels like an eternity!
Once my baby was out, all I wanted to do was hold her! I couldn’t wait!
My husband was holding her close to me which was the best I could have at that moment. You aren’t able to hold them right away but if all goes well, you’ll be able to have them next to you or on your chest for a little bit.
The doctors will have to sew your uterus back up and each layer they had to cut through to get to the baby. They will also have to push down on your stomach a bit to get everything back to where it was.
So, yes, there’s more pressure and more waiting.
It’s all so strange really because you’re laying there half naked with your insides all out! I just wanted it to be over already and I stared at the clock.
I was thrilled my baby was okay but with every c-section I had, I felt like this was the longest part.
So, this part may not be fun but I’m a firm believer in knowing things ahead of time so I can handle them better! If you know this is all going to happen, then you’ll be more prepared.
11– There may be shoulder pain during the C-section
May women have shoulder pain after a c-section which is caused by trapped gas. I was lucky enough to experience the trapped gas and shoulder pain during my c-section while they were sewing me back up!
This pain was tolerable but very uncomfortable, especially when you are still laying down and waiting for your surgery to be over!
This trapped gas is caused by air that has entered your abdominal cavity during surgery. These air pockets will gradually be absorbed by your body within the next few days after your surgery. The pain will disappear as the gas disappears.
In most cases, women experience trapped gas after their c-section, so be prepared for both!
I told my medical team immediately and they were able to help me with the pain. They also gave me some Gas-X which worked wonders for me the following few days after my c-section.
Remember, your anesthetist is there for you, so talk to them or your medical team. My anesthetist talked to me and helped me through it all!
12– Expect bleeding after c-section
Yes, there will be blood!
After my first c-section, I didn’t expect this to happen. I assumed that since I had a cesarean then I wouldn’t be bleeding afterward.
Well, you will bleed and you’ll bleed a lot!
When the nurses helped me stand up for the first time, I had no idea how much blood was under me or that I was even bleeding! It’s basically like you’re having an incredibly bad period.
A woman who has a c-section delivery has twice as much blood loss than a woman who had a vaginal delivery. This is due to the pregnant uterus carrying more blood supply than any other organ in the body! (Source)
You aren’t able to feel anything for a while so you’re aren’t really aware of what’s going on down there!
Once you start to have feelings in your legs and are able to move around, they help you stand up and that’s when you’ll see your nurses placed pads underneath you and the mess you made!
Your labor and delivery nurses are your best friends, so thank them often!
You will still bleed for a few days after and won’t be able to wear tampons, so pack these instead! The hospital should give you some pads, but they are pretty bulky and something you won’t want to wear once your home.
I liked these brands much better!
For more C-section recovery tips, click the photo below!
13– Tips to stay calm during your c-section
What helped me the most during my c-sections was my husband talking me through it all!
If you aren’t having the father of your baby in the OR with you, then bring someone you can count on that can make you laugh and tell you stories to take your mind off of it all!
It freaked me out a bit knowing all that the doctors were doing and helped me so much having my husband tell me stories or talk to me about our baby and what she would look like.
Like I said above, the beginning goes fast but the end feels like it takes a while, so bring someone that can calm you down, or even make you laugh!
Have them prepare to tell you a story, hold your hand and get you through those last few minutes until you can get out of that OR room, get to recovery, and finally hold your baby!
Also remember to take deep breaths, tell yourself you got this and in such a short amount of time, you’ll get to hold that precious baby you waited months for!!
14– How long does a scheduled c-section take?
Most scheduled c-sections take a little over an hour. My last two c-sections that were scheduled took about an hour each.
It takes about 15-20 min from the time you sit on that OR table until the surgery actually begins. The longest part is after they get the baby out and stitch you back up.
So, prepare for a least an hour or so as long as there are no complications.
I hope these 14 things to expect with a scheduled c-section help other moms get prepared and ease their minds a bit! I wish someone told me these things before mine!
Knowing what you’re getting yourself into is half the battle and will make you calmer and you’ll be ready for anything!
Wondering what to pack in your scheduled c-section hospital bag? Click the photo below!
You may also like:
10 Tips to help you Breastfeed After a C-section
How To Survive A C-section Recovery with a Toddler!
Best Clothes to Wear After Your C-section
The Do’s and Don’ts After a C-section or click the photo below!