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A cesarean section changes childbirth from a highly active experience to a more passive one, yet you'll need your partner just as much.The skills he learned in childbirth class, such as breathing and calm encouragement, are helpful no matter how you deliver your baby. Encourage Dad to learn as much as he can about cesarean surgery beforehand, so he's prepared to dole out both emotional and physical support.
The bright lights and stark walls of an operating room can be unnerving to an expectant mom, especially if the cesarean section was unplanned. Dad's chief role during the delivery will be to hold your hand and provide comfort. He should use a calm, low voice to reassure you that everything's going well. After the surgery, you may be shaky or weepy. These are normal reactions, according to the American Pregnancy Association, but they may seem frightening. Dad can remind you that the shakiness is only temporary. Have him ask for socks and warm blankets for you. In an emergency, Dad may have to wait in the waiting room.
Even if you've planned ahead for a cesarean, it's helpful to have your partner remind you of what to expect throughout the procedure. He can say something along the lines of, "You might feel some pressure and tugging in a minute," or "Remember, the doctor said you might feel cold from the IV fluid." Dad can also give you a few details about what's going on, such as, "The doctor's getting ready to make the incision now." Chances are, your hubby will be standing behind a blue curtain and won't have to see anything that's too overwhelming for him.
Once the baby is born, the nurse or doctor will probably hold her up to give you and Dad a first peek. Then baby will be whisked off to be cleaned and swaddled. At this point, the nurse may give baby to Dad. Ask him to snuggle the baby next to your cheek or hold her so can see her. After a few minutes, the nurse may ask Dad to wait in another room while the doctor repairs your incision, which takes 45 minutes to an hour, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Dad can enjoy this time to meet your new baby. Once you come out of surgery, it's all hands on deck. Dad can comfort you as you get settled in your hospital room and help you hold your new baby.
The role Dad plays once you get home is just as important as the one he played in the hospital. A cesarean section is major abdominal surgery, and you will need help—perhaps round-the-clock—for at least the first week or two. Let Dad make meals, take care of the laundry and help feed and diaper the baby. If Dad must return to work, arrange for family, friends or church members to help you. The more help you get early on, the more quickly you'll recover from surgery.