Did you know that nearly one third of all births in the U.S. are C-sections? Yeah, us neither. As it turns out, there are quite a few things about C-sections that are a bit of a mystery. That’s why we asked real moms to tell us about some of the things they wish that they’d known before having theirs. Here’s what we learned. (Spoiler: These women are badass.)
That people will assume something went wrong.“People have this assumption that a C-section is a result of your birth plan going awry, or you giving up. In fact, a lot of C-sections are planned. Mine was because of a breech pregnancy, and was deemed the safest course of action.” – Rebecca, New York
There’s no pain but you’ll probably feel something.
“I was really surprised that I could actually feel the doctor delivering the baby. I wasn’t in pain from the incision or during the surgery, but I could feel the doctor pushing and pulling to get the baby out. It was an extremely weird feeling, that is the only way I can describe it.” – Laura, Massachusetts
You will be drugged AF right after.
“When you come out of surgery you are on a LOT of morphine, which is good (because pain), but it can make it hard to know exactly what’s going on, and also can make it hard to breastfeed immediately. Don’t give up, though. It gets easier after a few hours when you come out of your haze.” – Nina, Connecticut
You may get real sweaty after.
“I fortunately didn’t have any nausea after, although I do remember feeling a little light-headed. What was really weird, though, was that I was dripping with sweat for at least three hours after.” – Katie, New Jersey
Or super itchy.
“I was so itchy after my C-section—the type of itch that even Benadryl couldn’t cure. Apparently this is totally normal and a lot of people react to anesthesia this way. Who knew?” – Chris, California
While there’s a wide range of reactions to anesthesia, everyone has to take it easy after.
“People act like a C-section is a painless childbirth option, but it really isn’t. It’s a major abdominal surgery and it takes time to recover. They had me on a liquid diet for two days after mine, and I also wasn’t allowed to lift anything heavier than my baby for a couple of weeks. Oh, and stairs were a real challenge for awhile.” – Rachel, Minnesota
And you’ll still need maxi pads. “I didn’t realize that you still bleed just as much with a C-section as you do with a vaginal birth. I don’t know why I thought that wouldn’t be the case but it really was. Birth is so gross (beautiful, but gross). – Liz, California
Peeing afterward might feel weird. “I didn’t realize that I would have a catheter in after the surgery. Then when it was removed about 12 hours after my surgery, I was so nervous to make my way to the bathroom — it turned out that it wasn’t as painful as I thought it was going to be, but I felt very weak.” – Lottie, Maryland
You’re probably going to want to stock up on fiber. “The medication definitely makes you constipated — thank God for those special red pills the doctors gave me to help with my bowel movements once I was home.” – Anne, New York
That a VBAC doesn’t have to be difficult. “Obviously this depends on your unique medical situation, but I had geared myself up for it to be a big deal with my doctor, and ultimately he was 100 percent on board, and I had one without any complications.” – Elizabeth, Virginia
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