There may be questions you would like to ask but don’t before you have an elective caesarean section.
How to prepare:
- Your hospital bag will be the same whether you are having a vaginal delivery or caesarean section.
- The surgical incision is 2cm above your pubic bone. You can wax the area before or the theatre nurses will prepare the area on the day. Don’t worry, as embarrassing as this may sound its part of the procedure. You will wear a theatre gown, which is open at the back and you don’t need to wear underwear. Again don’t worry or be embarrassed, most obstetric procedures require you not to wear underwear. Bring a dressing gown and slippers so you are comfy on the walk to the theatre.
- Your partner will be asked to stay in the waiting area while you have the anaesthetic. This will usually be a spinal anaesthetic, which involves an injection of local anaesthetic into your back that feels like a bee sting. Then you will feel pressure as the spinal needle is inserted. Your legs will go warm and tingly and you won’t be able to lift them once the spinal is effective. You will feel pressure but no pain during the operation.
- Your partner may be asked to wear scrubs and theatre clogs. He will probably be nervous going into the theatre but don’t worry he will be sitting beside you and a screen will prevent you both from seeing the operation as it happens.
- It can take anything from 5 minutes to 30 minutes to deliver the baby, depending on whether you’ve had previous surgery before or not.
- Once the baby is delivered, the cord is clamped and the baby is given a check by a midwife or doctor before being wrapped up and put in your arms. Babies often don’t cry straight after delivery and there colour may be grey or blue initially which is normal.
- If you want to breast feed a midwife will help you with this in the recovery area of theatre or on the postnatal ward. Sometimes they recommend giving the baby a bottle if the baby is >4kg or if there will be a delay with the first feed. You will be asked before this happens and it will not affect your ability to breastfeed.
- You will have a catheter (tube in your bladder) until the day after the caesarean. You will be able to walk around the day after the operation. It takes up to 6 hours for the spinal anaesthetic to wear off and it is best if someone is with you the first time you stand up, encase you fall down.
- There’s no other operation where you would be expected to recover and look after a new baby. The midwives looking after you are aware of this and will help you, especially in the first 24 hours after surgery.
- Take all the painkillers on offer, don’t wait until you get sore.
- You can have a shower the day after the surgery. Most people will wait until day 2. You will have either staples, dissolvable or non-dissolvable stitches in your skin and a dressing covering the incision. The dressing can be changed if it gets wet. Keep the incision clean with water and pat it dry after. Don’t use anything else like soap or disinfectant on it but if a little bit of soap gets on it during your shower don’t worry about it.
- You will go home between day 3 and 5. It takes 6 weeks to recover so no heavy lifting or strenuous exercise allowed. You can go for walks and push the buggy. Most insurance companies will not cover you to drive for 6 weeks after the operation.