1 in 4 women give birth via c-section in the UK, yet there’s next to no information about the process. We’ve recruited a team of experts to give women the c-section information they need to know, that no one’s told them yet.
C-sections are very normal, but are often treated like some closed-door process we’re not allowed to know about. Well, screw that. If babies are coming out of our bodies, we deserve to know exactly what’s going to happen.
Everyone’s relationship with birth planning is different, and all feelings about birth are valid. However, education is power, and we hate to think there are women out there who want to be armed with all the facts, but can’t access them. So, we assembled the army of c-section experts to empower you with everything you need to make your birth more manageable and dare we say… enjoyable.
Our series was designed to guide you through the whole process, but feel free to click the sections below that most appeal to you:
🌸 Planning for a c-section
With Emma Armstrong, Doula and Visual Educator @thenakeddoula
🌸 What to expect from the operation
🌸 The first few weeks post c-section
🌸Eating for healing and recovery
With Lynda Stretton, Women’s Health Nutritionist @lynda.stretton
🌸Postpartum mobility stretches
With Roxy Ekhaese, Postnatal Fitness Specialist @roxyfitblog
🌸 How to massage your c-section scar
With Hannah Johnson, C-Section Scar Massage Therapist @hannahjohnsontherapies
Planning for a c-section
with Emma Armstrong, Doula and Visual Educator @thenakeddoula
Ladies, welcome to the first part of our c-section series. In this section we recruited @thenakeddoula, a trained doula who says being prepared and knowing your options gives you the empowerment you need to feel confident in your birth. Here’s Emma’s top tips for planning for a c-section:
What to expect from the operation:
Scheduled surgery or a last minute decision - the typical c-sections follow a tightly scripted plan. Here’s what to expect:
1️⃣ Pre-Op and Anesthesia
Most caesareans are carried out under spinal or epidural anaesthetic. This means you'll be awake, but the lower part of your body is numbed so you will not feel any pain.
After fasting. The lower part of your body will be numbed with an epidural or spinal block, A catheter will be inserted into your bladder. You may receive a scan to check the position of the baby.
In the case of an emergency c-section, there may not be enough time to numb you. Which means you will be fully knocked out with general anesthesia for the procedure.
2️⃣ Time for the Op
A screen is placed across your body so you can’t see what's being done – the doctors will let you know what's happening. A cut about 10 to 20cm long will usually be made across your lower tummy and womb so your baby can be delivered - you may feel some tugging during the procedure. You and your birth partner will be able to see and hold your baby as soon as they’ve been delivered if they're well – a baby born by emergency caesarean because of foetal distress may be taken straight to a paediatrician for resuscitation.
3️⃣ Time for the Op (Part 2)
As soon as the umbilical cord is cut, your doctor will remove the placenta and do a routine check of your reproductive organs.
You will be stitched up with dissolvable stitches for the uterus, and either dissolvable/regular stitches or staples for the cut on your abdomen. You may also receive antibiotics to help prevent infection, as well as oxytocin to help with contracting the uterus.
4️⃣ Meeting your little one
After all of this you may meet your little human. ❤️ You may have time to nurse on the operating table, but if you’re too tired, don’t worry at all as you will have plenty of time later. 💕
5️⃣ After the operation
You may be moved into the recovery room to be monitored by the medical staff every few hours. You will be given pain killers or blood thinning medication to help with recovery, as well as food and drinks. You may ask for help with breastfeeding.
*Information taken from NHS website*
The first few weeks post c-section
🌖 On the day:
The day of your c-section can be a bit of a blur. Please remember to REST. You've had major surgery so don't expect to be able to do everything straight away.
- You'll be given painkillers to reduce discomfort
- You'll have regular close contact with your baby and can start breastfeeding if you wish
- You can get out of bed and move around
- You can eat and drink
- You'll keep the catheter for at least 12 hours
- Your wound will remain dressed for at least 24 hours
🌗 Looking after your wound:
Your midwife/doctor should advise you on how to look after your wound.
- Gently clean and dry the wound every day
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes and cotton underwear
- Take a painkiller if the wound is sore – for most women, it's better to take paracetamol or ibuprofen (but not aspirin) whilst breastfeeding
- Watch out for signs of infection
🌘 The first week:
The average hospital stay in the UK is 3-4 days.
Non-dissolvable stitches or staples will be removed after 5 to 7 days.
Your body is doing a tonne of healing. You'll be advised not to:
- Drive a vehicle
- Use the stairs, if avoidable
- Lift anything heavier than your baby
- Insert anything into your vagina (this includes tampons, soaps and penises)
🌓 At home:
Although you’re probably feeling heaps better by now, contact your midwife/doctor straight away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Severe pain
- Leaking urine
- Pain when peeing
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Your wound becomes more red, painful and swollen
- A discharge of pus or foul-smelling fluid from your wound
- A cough or shortness of breath
- Swelling or pain in your lower leg
Recovery is different for everyone, and if you’re still feeling like taking it slow, listen to your body and do just that.
🌔 6 weeks onwards:
You can begin to perform gentle c-section massages to help heal your wound. Our nourishing balm, Scar Saviour is packed full of anti-inflammatory ingredients to accelerate scar recovery and recommended by leading UK healthcare professionals.
Watch our HOW TO videos for c-section massage at each stage of your recovery. 🎥▶️__________________________________________________________________________
Eating for healing and recovery
With Lynda Stretton, Women’s Health Nutritionist
💫 Let’s talk nourishing your body after a C-section 💫
We catch up with @lynda.stretton a leading women’s health nutritionist on what foods help the healing process.. Check out her top tips...
- You want to relieve constipation - think fibre rich foods: grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.
- Fluids: Carry a water bottle with you at all times 💦 this helps with milk production & will ease constipation.
- Protein: You’ve just had MAJOR surgery, you need this for the healing process and to rebuild tissue. 💪
- Iron, especially if you have had a lot of blood loss: Meat, fish, eggs, legumes, green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin C rich foods which will help iron absorption and wound healing: bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries and citrus fruits.
- Think easily digestible foods: Soups, stews with protein, complex carbohydrates and vegetables.
- Make sure to keep taking your prenatal vitamin, as it will include nutrients like Vitamin C and Zinc that are essential for wound healing.
- Also re-populate your gut after antibiotics, with probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi.
Finally, get as much rest as possible, get people to leave meals at the door that you can reheat....🙌
💫Rest up ladies💫__________________________________________________________________________
Postpartum mobility stretches
With Roxy Ekhaese, Postnatal Fitness Specialist
Roxy takes us through gentle stretches for healing and mobilising after a C-Section. Recommended to practice 6 weeks postpartum.
Are you looking to get your flexibility, movement & your strength back after a C-Section?
Many of my clients including myself have struggled with this & that is why I came up with some simple but very effective stretches to practice daily.
Looking after yourself After a C-Section in the right way through stretching, strengthening abdominal /posture exercises & massage is important to get the optimal & the most out of your recovery.
Sharing this advice with practical guidance, support is a big part of mine & @hannahjohnsontherapies C- Section 4 weeks course. We have a new group starting early April.
Click the link in my bio @roxyfitblog or send me a DM for more info & secure your place with us.
We can’t wait to help more C section mama’s to love their tummies again💕.
How to massage your c-section scar
With Hannah Johnson, C-Section Scar Massage Therapist @hannahjohnsontherapies
🌟C-Section Recovery - Scar massage: why would I need this? 🌟 ⠀
We catch up with the amazing @HannahJohnsontherapies an award-winning pre-and post natal remedial massage therapist on this very topic. Hannah tells us how C-sections not only cause physical trauma to the tissues and create scars but can also leave emotional scars too. ⠀
We can hold a lot of emotion in our tissues and I totally believe in the mind/body connection and think it’s important to work on both aspects when trying to heal. ⠀
⬇️ Why do I need to have, or perform scar massage?⬇️ ⠀
▪️Massage can help to avoid the buildup of scar tissue. ⠀
▪️After a c-section, scar tissue forms underneath your skin all the way down to your uterus. ⠀
▪️This scar tissue is called adhesions. Adhesions can spread and stick to anything, not just the tissues they are trying to repair.⠀
▪️Bowel obstruction, pain, reproductive issues and feelings of restriction can all be caused by scar tissue, so it is so important to address it early. ⠀
▪️Numbness after a c-section is caused by damage to the nerves in the tissues as they are cut through to bring your baby out. For some women this can be a scary and uncomfortable feeling and a lot of women say they don’t feel connected to that part of their body anymore. However, as usual, your body will start to repair itself and new nerves can start to grow back and knit together again. ⠀
💕 Scar Massage - 5 minutes a day ⠀
Scar massage doesn’t have to be an unrealistic chore that you need to try and fit into your busy day. Just five minutes a day can be really effective and it’s so important for preventing the buildup of scar tissue after a c-section. Check out our 3 part series on IGTV on how to look after early scars. 💕
Ladies, we hope that demystifies a lot of unknowns in the whole c-section process. If you found this helpful, or if you’ve had a c-section and you have any helpful tips for mums to be, please comment below.
Love, Nessa. x