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How Can I Prepare for a First Cesarean Section?

By Rebecca Harkin
Updated May 17, 2024
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To prepare for your first cesarean section, you will want to talk with your obstetrician about required preoperative tests, restrictions prior to the surgery, and what exactly will be involved in your surgery. You will want to compile a list of questions for the doctor about hospital rules concerning cesarean sections. It will be important to meet with your anesthesiologist to determine the best anesthesia for you. Finally, you will want to prepare your home ahead of time as much as possible so that you can get plenty of rest once you get home.

Once your first cesarean section has been planned, you will need to ask your doctor for a list of all the preoperative tests that need to be done. The doctor should also review with you all of the restrictions that will be placed on you just prior to the surgery. Be certain that you follow through and schedule and attend to all the preoperative testing.

Next, you should familiarize yourself with what is involved in a cesarean section. Your obstetrician should be able to provide you with a pamphlet about the procedure. Briefly, a cesarean section is an operation to remove a baby through the abdominal wall rather than through the birth canal. During this medical procedure, an incision is made in the abdomen, allowing the baby to be removed from the uterus.

The guidelines for a cesarean section vary from hospital to hospital, so it is a good idea to come up with a list of questions about what you will be allowed to do during the procedure. You will want to ask if your birth partner will be allowed to be with you during your first cesarean section. Following the birth, you will need to decide if you will want you partner to stay with you while your incision is sutured or go with the baby during his assessment. If you want to breastfeed your baby, you need to find out how soon you will be allowed to do so. You will also want to ask what the expected hospital stay will be following your first cesarean section.

Meet with your anesthesiologist to discuss the pain relief you will use during your operation. The anesthesia options are usually to be completely sedated or awake but numb from the neck down. Regardless of the method you choose, you will want to ask how long the anesthesia will last,and what side effects you might expect.

For many women, a cesarean section is the first major surgery they will ever experience. You will need to allow yourself to rest and recover as much as possible, both in the hospital and once at home. It may be best to ask visitors to wait two days before coming to the hospital. Try to take advantage of the ward nursery to get some additional rest while still at the hospital.

It is always helpful to prepare your house as much as possible before your first cesarean section. This will include having plenty of groceries and baby care essentials on hand so that you do not need to run out to get things or send out your partner, who will also be tired. Ask friends and family to help out for the first few weeks that you are home. They can bring in meals, watch the baby so you can sleep, or clean your house.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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