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From shivering and shoulder pain, we look at what you can expect when you have a C-section

“Wait, did you also experience that? Weird, I thought it was only me!” A typical line when friends discuss their C-sections.

There are some things that might come as a surprise if you haven’t had a C-section before…

Before the C-section

You might be shaved

When a nurse prepares you for your C-section, she might have to shave a bit of your pubic hair to clear the area for the surgical incision.

ALSO SEE: This is why you shouldn’t wax or shave your pubic hair before a C-section

Your partner won’t be allowed in the theatre while you get your spinal anaesthesia

Your partner will be all dressed up with nowhere to go waiting in the corridor until the doctor is done with your spinal. This is a medical procedure that needs to be done under sterile conditions. They will be allowed in after.

During the C-section

You might experience some nausea and dizziness

Spinal anaesthesia might drop your blood pressure, and you might experience these symptoms. Your doctor can give medication to help with this, so tell them when you feel ill.

ALSO SEE: 6 must-know C-section facts

You will still feel some tugging

If you get spinal anaesthesia, you will be awake during the C-section. You shouldn’t feel any pain, but you might still feel some pulling or pushing sensations while the doctors deliver your baby and stitch you up.

After the C-section

You might be separated from your baby

Depending on the hospital where you have your C-section, they might have different protocols on what happens with the baby after the C-section. If the baby is healthy, they might be taken to the nursery for weighing and measurement while the mother is still in the theatre recovery area. Your partner can usually accompany the baby, and they will be back soon enough.

You can breastfeed immediately after

All the medications used during the procedure is compatible with breastfeeding. It is recommended to breastfeed your baby as soon as possible.

ALSO SEE: Birth interventions and the impact on breastfeeding

You might experience some shivering

You might notice that you start shivering and feel cold. This is just the effect of the anaesthesia medications wearing off. Your doctor can give you a medicine called Pethidine to help ease this symptom.

You might experience shoulder pain

During your C-section, some air might enter the abdomen. This might irritate your diaphragm that will radiate pain to your shoulders. It’s very uncomfortable, but it subsides in a day or two. The sooner you start moving about, the sooner it passes.

You will still bleed vaginally

Even though your baby was not delivered vaginally, you will still experience some post-partum vaginal bleeding that can last for up to 6 weeks. It starts like a heavy period that becomes lighter as time goes on. This is due to uterine lining healing and hormone fluctuations.

Your first bowel movements might hurt

Your abdomen will be quite tender, and straining might hurt. Ensure you drink enough fluids to prevent constipation and take a laxative prescribed by your doctor. Walk around as soon as you are allowed.

ALSO SEE: 5 things you should know about your first postpartum poop

Your skin might feel numb around your scar

The small nerves that detect sensation on the skin of your abdomen may become injured during the incision. It may feel weird at first, and it may not return to normal in some women. The scar may also be more painful on the one side than the other. Usually, this is due to the stitches ending on one side.

Having a C-section is still major abdominal surgery. Don’t be a hero! Take your pain medication as prescribed and take it slow. Don’t lift anything heavier than your baby and ask for help when you need it.  Most importantly: Enjoy your baby!

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