How to Prepare For a Cesarean Section During Pregnancy in 12 Steps

    Cesarean SectionStatistics show that about 1 in 3 women will have a cesarean section or cesarean delivery. Our 12 step program helps you prepare for the cesarean delivery.

    1. Inform the insurance company. Many insurance companies require approval for hospital stays if they are planned. If the C-section is planned, the insurance carrier will need to be called ahead of time for a preapproval.
    2. Determine approved length of stay. When the insurance company approves the C-Section, they will inform the mother of the approval length of stay. Most often this will range from three days to five days depending on the coverage and the agreement between the hospital and the insurance company. If the hospital is out of the primary hospital list, the stay could be more expensive.
    3. Write a birth plan. The birth plan is not reserved for the vaginal delivery. Mom needs to plan out how she wants to handle the pain after surgery and the care of other children and pets. It is also important to plan out the days after returning home as mom will not be able to move around as much after a C-Section as she would if the baby were born vaginally.
    4. Pack the hospital bag. The hospital bag will contain much of the same things for the C-Section delivery as the vaginal delivery. The only difference is that baby may be discharged before mom as mom's length of stay may be five days. The bag will need to carry additional changes of clothes and clothes that are incision friendly.
    5. Spinal versus Epidural. There are three forms of anesthesia used for a C-Section. General anesthesia is often reserved for problem births and is not one of the two most common choices. The spinal and the epidural are the two most common. The spinal is a block anesthesia that works in minutes. The mother will not be able to feel from the waist down and will not be able to move those areas either. The spinal takes far longer to wear off than the epidural. Being a block anesthesia, it is given as one dose. The epidural is a catheter placed in the spinal cord that administers a constant flow of pain medication. After the birth, the catheter is removed and the pain medication wears off. The epidural takes up to 1 1/2 hours to reach full effectiveness.
    6. Discuss pain management. After the C-Section, which is major abdominal surgery, there will often be pain medications prescribed. If mom has chosen to breastfeed, the obstetrician will prescribe a pain medication that is safe for baby. Otherwise, the pain medication options will be determined by how much pain mom is feeling. Immediately after the surgery, the nurse will often offer the mother a shot of pain medication in the leg. This medication can cause numbness in the area of injection after administration.
    7. Get help from friends and family. After birth, mom will not be able to cook, clean or move around as much as the mom giving birth via vaginal delivery. Friends and family members can help out by cooking and cleaning for mom for the first week or so. It is important to notice mom during home visits and not just baby.
    8. Set up care for other children and pets. Sometimes it is easier to care for the new baby in a home without other trials and struggles for the first few days. If there are pets in the home or other children, arranging care for a bit of time after birth can give mom some time to get used to being a new mom.
    9. Will your partner be there? While a C-Section is major surgery, the partner is often allowed to be in the room when baby is born. This will need to be approved by the obstetrician and anesthesiologist and also the partner, of course. If there is any doubt that the partner will be able to handle the blood and surgical reality of the situation, they may need to stay in the waiting room.
    10. Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding. The mother giving birth vaginally often has the opportunity to breast feed or bottle feed immediately after birth. This is becoming more common with C-Section births as well. If mom wants to feed immediately after birth, the obstetrician will need to be in on that decision and the state of the baby at birth will need to be assessed before feeding.
    11. Holding baby after birth. The C-Section is a big deal to the doctors on hand. Sometimes, in a rush to care for baby, the mother is not given the chance to hold the child. It is important to begin the bond as soon as possible between mom and baby. Some women report feeling less like a mother after a C-Section due to the lack of labor. An immediate, close connection can help to ease this stress.
    12. Take care of mom. After the C-Section it is important for mom to take care of her body. The risk of infection is higher, the chance of wound dehiscence is higher and the pain and fatigue levels are higher after the C-Section. The abdominal birth is not the same as the vaginal birth and no two C-Sections are the same.