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Tips for a Planned C-Section

Photograph by Twenty20

A cesarean section is sometimes planned in advance. If you await a planned c-section, it's a good idea to find out about c-section procedures and the type of aftercare you will need. Some timely preparations for your newborn's arrival can help provide a positive birth experience and a smooth recovery.

C-Section Support Plan

For a planned C-section, it's likely that you will receive regional anesthetic, which numbs the area below the waistline. Regional anesthesia allows you to remain conscious so that you can see your newborn immediately after delivery, provided there are no complications. Arrange for at least one supportive person, such as your husband or partner, to accompany you on the day of surgery. It's best to check with your health care provider if you would like your birth partner to remain with you during delivery as hospital regulations can vary.

C-Section Birth Plan

Create a birth plan with the help of your birth partner and your doctor at least a few months before your surgery date. This gives you a chance to mention any special requests you might have in good time for the birth. You could ask that your birth partner cut the newborn's cord. It's best to keep your birth plan simple and flexible to let your obstetrician and medical team prioritize health and safety issues above other concerns. If you plan to breastfeed, you could also find out about the likely amount of recovery time needed between your surgery and the time of your newborn's first feed.

RELATED: What to Expect During a C-Section

C-Section Hospital Bag

It's normal to experience heavy bleeding after a C-section, and therefore hospitals usually provide extra-absorbent menstrual pads for you to use. However, you might prefer to take along and use your own high-absorbency menstrual pads if you think they are more comfortable. If you plan to breastfeed your newborn, pack a small, foam cushion or a folded bath towel into your hospital bag for you to use as a "tummy pillow". A tummy pillow is helpful when you are lying on one side to breastfeed your baby as you can place it between the bed and your abdomen to help support and protect your incision.

C-Section Aftercare Plan

Typically, moms stay in the hospital for two to four days after a cesarean section. Once home, try to rest as much as you can, and avoid lifting anything heavier than your newborn. Don't turn down offers of help. Although a C-section is minor surgery, it's still surgery, and your body needs time to heal. Before you head to the hospital, stock your larder, fridge and freezer with a range of nutritious foods so you don't have to worry about meals your first few days home from the hospital.

RELATED: Pregnancy Checklist: Third Trimester

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