Maiden, Mother, Crone Photography

Whether you planned a c-section from the beginning of your pregnancy or this is an unexpected twist somewhere along the way, there are lots of ways you can rock your cesarean! Here are some tips to help make Your C-Section empowering and the recovery as smooth as possible!

Make a complete birth plan.

You don’t have to scrap a birth plan if you’re having a c-section.   With a c-section you absolutely can (and should!) make a birth plan & ask your doctor how to best prepare. Here are a few things to consider in your birth plan (whether your type it up or just keep a rough draft in the notes app on your phone):

  • Decide who you would like to be present in the operating room with you. This may include your partner, doula, and/or  your birth photographer. You may also want to ask your doctor or nurse about their policies on the number of support people allowed into the OR.
  • Think about what kind of pain management you would like to have during the surgery. You will likely be given the option of receiving an epidural or spinal block. Ask questions about the ingredients used, their benefits, risks,  and side-effects.
  • If it matters to you, consider asking for a sweep of your vaginal canal. My c-section was urgent, and being able to do this allowed me to get flora from my body to my baby, mimicking what my baby would have been exposed to had my delivery been physiological.
  • This is a big one! Consider your preferences for after the birth. Would you like to immediately bond with your baby skin-to-skin? Would you prefer that your partner cut the cord? Does your hospital offer a clear drape so you can see your baby the moment they are born? Can you pull your baby out yourself?

Making these decisions ahead of time can help to make the experience more positive for everyone involved! I found the more I was able to plan and research ahead of time, the more I was able to make my C-Section empowering.

What’s in your bag?

There are some unique things you should consider bringing to the hospital for your c-section. In addition to the normal things you’ll want to bring to the hospital (like your own snacks, overnight bag, and so on) there are a few things that will be helpful to help with surgery recovery and being in the hospital that extra day or two.

  • High waisted pajamas/pants (to keep your waistband off your incision) or nightgowns without bottoms. My wardrobe already had items like this, so I was good to go!
  • Extra pillows to stay propped up and as comfortable as possible post-operation.  The hospital pillows SUCK. Bring a couple from home if possible – don’t forget the pillowcases!
  • Bonus: a pillow specifically for feeding your baby, like the Boppy Nursing Pillow or MyBrestFriend.  The former was my favorite, and I found a free one through my local Facebook trade group!
  • Loose fitting clothes and sandals or slippers, because chances are your feet will be extra swollen for a few days.  I had to wear my husband’s sandal for at least three or four days after surgery!

General Tips to Make Your C-Section Empowering

As a c-section mom myself, I’ve learned a couple of tips that will help your recovery process. Preparing ahead of time will definitely help make your c-section empowering, and a breeze.

Don’t try to do too much too soon! Plan on a solid 6-8 weeks for recovery and ask friends and family to help as much as possible during that time (I know that can be tough to ask for help, but it’s so important for your recovery). Things like household tasks, grocery shopping and cooking dinner are all things someone else should be doing for you while you recover.

While you DO need to move around and make sure to use your body after a c-section, there is a fine  balance you must have between rest and movement. Listen to your body and do what you know it needs.

If you know before labor begins that you are having a c-section, prepare your home ahead of time! I would recommend getting everything you need for recovery before the baby arrives. This includes big items like a comfy couch or recliner to spend time in and lots of pillows for support, as well as smaller items like extra long pads (for your incision), chapstick, and snacks.  Don’t forget your water bottle!

Make sure everything you’ll need for yourself and your baby is within arm’s reach. Lots of baby stores sell little caddies that are helpful to keep your bedside table organized with things like diapers, wipes, diaper cream, etc. You’ll also want to make sure your charging cord is long enough to reach where you need it to!
Do you like to read?  Have a small stack of books nearby that you can pick up when the mood strikes – because we know there will be plenty of chances to be nap trapped!!

Stock your freezer with easy-to-prep meals or pre-cooked meals that you can put in the oven so you don’t have to cook for a while. I also made, rolled, and froze cookie dough ahead of time. It was literally the best thing I did for my future self when I was pregnant.

Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, or you’re in pain, don’t hesitate to call your care provider!

Can I have a birth photographer if I’m having a c-section?

Sometimes pregnant people think that if they’re having a c-section they can’t have a birth photographer. That’s just not true! There are a lot of reasons birth photography is great for c-section births. One of those reasons is that because of the extra medications, it might be harder for you to remember those first few hours postpartum. Photos will help bring those moments that are tough to remember back to light! Don’t forget point #1 above regarding support persons in the operating room. All the reasons why you want birth photography in general also apply to when you have a c-section.

Can I still do a newborn session if I’m having a c-section?

As a cesarean mama myself, I’ve learned how to take extra precautions with you and your baby during your newborn session. If you want to learn more about our San Jose newborn sessions, click here.

You can absolutely have an empowering birth experience with a c-section! And I hope this blog post showed you that there are plenty of things you can do to make your c-section empowering and feel more like “you.” By planning ahead and packing the right items for your hospital stay, you’ll be ready to take on recovery like a boss.

And if you have any questions or concerns along the way, never hesitate to reach out to other birthing parents who’ve been through it before. You are not alone!

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