Having a planned caesarean section

For some mums to be, deciding to have an elective caesarean section may have been what they wanted or needed right from the start. For others it can be a very difficult decision to make along the way.

Pregnancy blog, 16/01/2017, by Tommy's midwife Kate

If having a caesarean isn’t something that you had planned from the start, it doesn’t have to mean ditching your whole birth plan. There's still plenty you can do to help yourself prepare for a caesarean section and to have some input over your birth experience.

Fruit, veg and plenty of water

We would always recommend drinking enough of water and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables during pregnancy, but this can really help you in the days leading up to when you have a caesarean section. That's because your bowels can be sluggish after the operation and the water and fibre will help to stop constipation.

Pads and pants

Make sure you have plenty of big cotton knickers and thick maternity pads packed in your hospital bag. You still bleed after having a caesarean so you will need plenty!  Wet wipes and flannels are also great to be able to freshen up when it is harder to move around after the surgery.  

Waiting games

Before going into surgery to have your caesarean, there is often some waiting around. This time can often be a little nerve-racking and can feel like it is going very slowly. So it can help to bring a book, magazines, a game or some music to help pass the time and settle your nerves.

Soothing tunes

When you go to have your caesarean section, having a playlist of songs ready that can be played in theatre can help you feel relaxed and make the environment feel a little more personal. You can still have a birth partner with you (as long as you are not being put to sleep by general anaesthetic) so you can talk to them throughout and they can support you. Your birth partner can also bring in a camera with them to take photos of mum and baby. 

Skin to skin

Many parents have said that they couldn’t have skin to skin contact with their baby straight after the birth because they had a caesarean section.  As long as baby gives a good cry when it is born and is well, then you or your partner can still have skin to skin straight after birth while you are still in theatre, and can often breastfeed too. Do not hesitate to ask your midwife to support you with this.

Your baby's cord

All hospitals should be practising delayed umbilical cord clamping as this is within the national guidelines. This means that your baby’s umbilical cord should be left unclamped and uncut for at least one minute after birth, as long as they are well and don't need any help with their breathing. This means that your baby can get that extra bit of iron from the blood left in the cord. Again you can talk to your midwife about this.

Talk to your midwife

Do not be afraid to talk to your midwife throughout your pregnancy about any ideas or questions you have about your caesarean section, they will support you as much as possible.

Find out more about having a caesarean section here

Find out more about making a birth plan here

More on labour and birth

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