Right after the birth of a cesarean baby, the doctor sucks out his nose and mouth from any extra fluid, which leads the baby to take his very first breath that is commonly followed by so very much loved first cry that indicates the baby is healthy and breathes properly. The gynecologist will also cut the umbilical cord. He is then immediately taken aside by the nurses and properly cleaned off. He will also be quickly swaddled as newborn babies cannot quite regulate their body temperature yet. To keep his head warm, the caregiver will place a hat on his little head. The baby’s weight and length is measured and his vital signs are taken, along with testing his muscle tone and reflexes. If the baby passes all these initial tests and the caregivers believe that there are no reasons for concern, the baby will be taken to delivery suite where he will wait for his mother to arrive from the operating room. Even though this routine is not as bonding as a vaginal delivery, many women nowadays choose to have a cesarean baby.
Increasing Cesarean Rates
Women who undergo a cesarean section are at considerably high-risk. Nonetheless, cesarean rates having been steadily increasing over the past few years. According to recent studies, one in every three women will choose to have a cesarean delivery. Even if there are cases where a cesarean birth is absolutely necessary, like prolonged labor or health issues regarding the mother or the baby, other times the decision women make to have a c-section is just for fear of facing labor pain. What they do not keep into account, however, is that by avoiding labor pain, which might lasts indeed a few hours, they choose to deal with post-surgery recovery, which could last for many weeks.
Some people associate the skyrocketing increase in cesarean deliveries to the extraordinary improvement in technology, which helps doctors detect early problems that the pregnancy might encounter, such as the position of the placenta, or issues related to the baby’s health. Other opinions, however, suggest that another reason that needs to be associated with the increase in cesarean rates is the fact that women have lost faith in themselves and their natural ability of giving birth without facing a major surgical operation.
Hospitals against Cesarean after Cesarean
Due to the unexplainable increase of cesarean after cesarean procedures, hospitals have begun a real campaign against unnecessary c-sections. They start by organizing courses for mothers-to-be and instruct them on every phase of their pregnancy as well as giving birth. These courses are often free of charge and life partners are welcomed to join. These courses aim at giving future mothers faith in their natural physical abilities as women and to shine a positive light on giving birth naturally, which is still regarded as something terribly painful that their grandmothers used to go through.
However, even if there are cases when a vaginal delivery can be safely done, some women, for all sorts of medical reasons, still need to deliver their children cesarean after cesarean.
The c-section can be scheduled in advance or performed by the obstetrician not earlier than 39 weeks. This is to make sure the baby has reached full term and has greater chance to be born without any problems.
What are the circumstances which the OB considers when deciding to do a c-section instead of normal vaginal delivery?
- Your baby is positioned bottom down or known as ‘breech’.
- You are carrying twins or more than two babies.
- The twins you are carrying are positioned differently from each other; one bottom down while the other is head first.
- Your baby is too large or if you had a previous offspring born via c-section.
Cesarean section might be an immediate option for the following situations:
- When your cervix stopped dilating (remember that it should reach a size of 10 inches during birth) and the contractions have not work to push the baby through the birth canal.
- The umbilical cord is wrapped around the infant’s neck inflicting danger to his or her health.
- The fetal monitoring comes back with an abnormal heart rate and the baby must be delivered immediately.
- In the event the mother as sexually-transmitted disease like HIV. C-section can prevent the transmission of the virus to the baby.
- A deformed placenta can deprive the child with oxygen and impose problem to both the mother and the child.
Postpartum care for the baby
Upon delivery through c-section, the baby’s breathing is checked by the doctor and nurses. The weight and length of the baby is then noted. An identification bracelet is attached to the hand or foot of the newborn. Once this is done, the baby is wrapped in blankets and will be brought to the nursery room.
A cesarean baby will still be closely monitored by the health providers. If necessary, the baby is placed under a heating lamp. With parental consent, the hospital can also provide the baby with vaccines against viral hepatitis.
After two to three hours after the surgery, the mother can now receive the baby in her room for the first breastfeeding session. Skin to skin contact between the mother and the baby is highly encouraged at this moment. It will be easier for the baby to adapt to the new environment when he or she is close to the same temperature he or she had been in the past nine months.
In the following days, the baby can be brought to the mother for regular breastfeeding sessions. This will also help the mother and the baby practice the right latching position. The baby can now stay with the mother during the day and returned to the nursery room when the evening comes. The doctor may require for an extended stay at the hospital for three to four more days for the mother and the child. However, it will take about four to six weeks until the mother gets fully recovered from the cesarean section as this is still considered a surgery.
Mother’s road to recovery
In the next 24 hours after birth, the mother’s heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and vaginal discharges are monitored. After pain during urination and postpartum contractions are also observed in the following days.
During cesarean deliveries, either epidural or general anesthesia is given to the mother. With regional anesthesia, the lower part of the mother’s body is numbed during delivery. The mother is likely to be awake to witness the birth of her child. On the other hand, general anesthesia is used in some occasions. This makes the mother unconscious during childbirth.
The anesthesia will eventually wear off and the mother will feel minimal pain at the incision area. The nurse will assess the intensity of the pain in the next few days. The gravity of pain will depend on the mother’s pain tolerance as well as the kind of anesthesia used. The pain will be manageable with the help of your OB, your partner, and your family.
The first thing you can do is take the prescribed medicines as scheduled to help ease the pain and tension in your abdominal area. Avoid taking medication when only feel intense pain as these will just confuse the body. Intermittent in the incision site may happen every now and then. This will lasts for about six weeks. You can clean the scar with warm water and soap but avoid lifting heavy objects, You can lift objects with your arms but never try to bend down.
You might be thinking that since you are breastfeeding your child, some of the medicine’s contents will go to your milk. Yes, this might happen but not in large amount and may not be harmful to the baby. Spend the next weeks recovering at home and sneak in few power naps since there will be sleepless nights as your breastfeed the baby round-the-clock.
Adapting to a New Life
To juggle recovering from surgery and taking care of a newborn requires huge effort and the least that your family and friends can do is take care of other household chores for you. The incision made in your uterus and abdominal muscles is deep and affected many layers which is why it will take time to for the body to repair this cut. It will take another week or two for the muscles to become flexible again.
The rule is, the more rest you get the faster the recovery. However, do not expect to be able to normal activities a few weeks after surgery. You can only drive, walk or climb the stairs at a fast pace only after one to months of recovering.
There might be times that you will feel depressed and pitiful about yourself after your c-section. Some women speculate that they felt anger, disappointment, and guilt when they thought about how could they have handled normal delivery rather than a cesarean delivery. You can seek help from your partner and friends and discuss these emotions. The point here is to not put the blame to anyone and the important thing is look forward to a bright future with your baby.
A Call for Reliable Partners
Women who underwent surgery will face greater adjustment aside from the fact that she is handling a new role as a mother (this applies for first time moms). If you are the mom’s partner (and reading this article, too), here are some tips to make recovery period easy for your wife, your baby, and the whole family:
- If you had the chance to make plans for this during your wife’s pregnancy, it is time to review your notes and see which ideas you can actually put into action.
- Make the most out of your work leave and spend more time her and your baby. Log out of your social media accounts and learn simple tasks like changing the nappies or sterilizing the feeding bottles.
- During breastfeeding, help your partner position yourself on the bed or on her chair. Place pillows under the arms and her lower back for added support.
- Invite your wife for morning walks but make sure to cover only short distances. You can also tag along the baby for daily dose of morning sun.
- Accompany your wife and child to their postnatal care appointments with the doctor. Try also to be attentive to what the OB says as women tend to become forgetful after birth.
- This is a good time to learn new skill like cooking. You can whip up a healthy recipe for your wife since it will hard for her to move around the kitchen or go to a restaurant.