Post # 1
Wise ladies of the bee, I have a question for you.
A friend of mine (who is a nurse) and I were chatting today, and she was telling me about the birth of her friends son. There was a complication and he was born via C-Section. Fine, that’s all ok.
So I was asking her how her friend was, and how her recovery was and she said “Oh, a C-section recovery isn’t that much different than having a vaginal birth. By the time you leave the hospital you’re pretty much recovered.” I was asking her how that was (since I have heard different) and she said “it’s not the like olden day c-sections, now they only make a small 2 inch incision, and you can’t even see it once it’s healed”.
Am I just that out of the baby loop, that they can deliver a baby through a 2 inch incision? I know the vajay dialates 10cm, and I think it also stretches a bitwhen the baby pushes through (yes? no? maybe?) But 2 inches doesn’t sound right to me. I read about a c-section after we got off the phone, and I didn’t find a number for the incision, but 2 inches just doesn’t seem possible to me…
I was also surprised by her comment that c-section recovery is ‘fairly easy’, neither of the two of us have kids, so I don’t know first hand. But I know a woman who had two kids via c-section, and her recovery from the c-section itself was not easy (or ended in the hospital) by any means.
She then told me all of the prescriptions her friend is taking dduring her recovery (including a narcotic) and still it didn’t sound as though her recovery ended in the hospital.
So wise ladies of the bee, am I just that unfamiliar with C-sections, and that is why this information seems so unbelievable to me?
Post # 2
My DD was born via C-section. And my recovery wasn’t “fairly easy”. I also wasn’t “pretty much recovered” by the time I left the hospital. My doctor stressed to me, many times, that it was major abdominal surgery and that I had to take the recovery slowly. For (if I remember correctly) 6-8 weeks, I wasn’t allowed to pick up anything larger/heavier than my baby. I wasn’t allowed to do stairs for the first 4 weeks or so, which was not fun because we live in a 3-story house. Also, no bending for a certain amount of time. And lots of bed rest. My hospital stay was also longer than it would have been if I hadn’t had a C-section.
My scar is a LOT bigger than 2 inches, too. (sadly — lol)
Granted, this was 10 years ago. Maybe things have changed a lot in that time … ??
Post # 3
Either your friend, the nurse, is confused, or there was a tremendous communication gap between the two of you.
It’s not the vagina that dilates- it’s the cervix- the opening of the uterus.
The incision is generally 4-6″ long crosswise on the body just below the pubic hairline. Rarely they have to do a lengthwise incision from belly button to pubic bone- reserved for extreme emergencies these days.
A woman is not “pretty much recovered’ from a C-section by the time she leaves the hospital. It is considered major abdominal surgery. There is a considerable amount of discomfort which is managed with various pain medications. It’s important to take enough medication to feel comfortable so you can be up and moving. This helps prevent complications like blood clots.
You are instructed to avoid any heavy household work and not lift anything heavier than your baby for the first 6-8 weeks. This hardly sounds like “pretty much recovered” does it?
Post # 4
Thanks ladies, that’s what I thought. I coudn’t understand how recovering from a c-section would be quite so quick. She also said “Yeah, women are even planning scheduled C-sections for that reason”, and I was very confused because I know C-sections are scheduled sometimes, but I was sure it was for medical reasons, not for preference.
The information just didn’t sound right to me, but she was very adamant about it, even after I asked her a few questions. She did say ‘for the first few days you can’t lift anything heavier than the baby’, but even there she seems to be mistaken. She was saying how she doesn’t seen the friend anymore, and I mentioned she was probably still recovering and adjusting, and that is actually where she made the comment about recovery.
Thanks so much… I thought I was crazy misinformed for a moment there.
julies1949: Yes, you are right, and I do know that the cervix dialates not the vagina, my mistake!
Thanks Ladies, I knew the bees would come through on this!
Post # 5
- Wedding: April 2012 - Chateau Briand
I had a c section four months and as stupid as this sounds, I couldn’t tell you how long the incision is as I refuse to see it (still working on getting rid of that baby fat -__- lol). I was told the same as PP that it is surgery and I couldn’t lift anything heavy for 6 weeks, etc. That being said, I felt absolutely fine once I left the hospital (baby was born on a wednesday, I left Saturday morning). I was easily able to walk around and up and down the stairs to my apartment. I did not take ANY painkillers after four days and I am a whiney brat, I’m totally not a crunchy granola type mama that worries about drug intervention- if I was in pain and needed painkillers I was gonna take them come hell or high water. I will say I have heard from plenty of mamas recovering from the first c section is easy compared to a second as there is then an older child to chase after/worry about.
Post # 6
Wow is your nurse friend ever wrong! I’ve had both – one natural birth and one emergency c-sec and try are totally different. you are sooo not recovered by the time you leave the hospital. It is a major surgery. Not only can you not lift anything heavier than the baby (including not being able to lift baby in car seat) but you have to take it really easy for weeks, including just going up and down stairs! I thought I was recovered, I think it was after 6 weeks so I started working out. Boy was I wrong!! After the second day the pain was back and it was horrible. My scar, which is almost 16 months old, is much bigger than 2 inches and is extremely visible. Mine was an emergency, so maybe they cut differently when it’s not, but both my SILs have had planned c-sections (one was a medical issue, my niece wasn’t able to turn down the other we aren’t sure why she had a c-section, if there was a medical issue with the baby or if it is because SIL is a little older so it was precautionary or something?) but one of my SIL have mentioned her scar goes right across, which is what mine is. Yikes, your nurse friend should maybe brush up on some thing. Lol hopefully she doesn’t work n the maternity wards, I wouldn’t want her spreading those type of rumours to mothers-to-be.
Post # 7
It definitely is major surgery, but most of the ladies I know who had a c-section said recovery was fairly easy. Everyone is going to be different though. Normally the scar should be horizontal and very low on your abdomen, although I’m sure they aren’t as careful if it’s an emergency.
Post # 8
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
ishafortin: A C-section is major abdominal surgery that definitely requires more recovery than a vaginal birth. A friend of mine got an infection in her incision site and she had to get it drained, cleaned, and packed with gauze every day for weeks after her baby was born by C-section. She couldn’t lean over to pick up her baby on her own during those weeks either. I think your friend is pleasantly confused about the whole situation.
Post # 9
If you’re curious, there are plenty of C-section surgery videos, so you can see the procedure for yourself and go from there. They are cutting through your skin and fat, pulling apart your abdominal muscles and making an incision on your uterus, so I imagine that it’s not the same as a simple out patient procedure.
Post # 10
I had a scheduled C-Section, so I think my recovery was easier than an emergency one. I felt pretty good when I left the hospital. I was able to walk, tend to my daughter, do some light cleaning without issue. I was cleared for normal activity (sex, working out, lifting things) 4 weeks pp. My incision is about 4 inches, maybe a little less, and every single nurse/dr who sees it tells me it’s “perfect” and will not be noticeable once it’s done healing. Everyone is going to be different, though!
Post # 11
Wow… for a nurse, your friend has a lot of her facts pretty jambled up. C-sections are major surgery.. and while some women might feel ok after leaving, they are by no means “recovered.”
..and as for people scheduling c-sections because “they are so easy,” that is just insane. Any responsible doctor would not just perform a c-section at a patient’s wish. There has to be an actual reason other than it being “easier.”
Post # 12
I had a section with my DS, and it certainly wasn’t an easy recovery. I also caught a cold in the hospital, so that combined with a ton of stitches, bleeding and major surgery… yeah none of that was easy. My incision is about 5 inches long, certainly not 2″ ! The incision is pretty hidden and small (now) and only visable to my husband and I 😉 In saying all of that, I’ll be happy to do another section again, I think had I not been sick when I left the hospital I would have had a pretty good recovery, probably comparable to someone with a vaginal birth. 3 of my friends all had vaginal births, and I’d say 2 of them had a worse recovery than I did, and my other section mama friends all did fairly well too. So, probably a case to case basis, for the most part!
Post # 13
Just like with vaginal births, there is going to be a lot of variation among women in how they come through a C-section birth and how quickly and easily they recover. PP’s have already covered that it’s not as simple as your friend makes it out to be, but some women do have a pretty easy time with it – others have a really rough time and a prolonged recovery. The same is true with vaginal birth – it can go really smoothly, or be really difficult, or anything in between.
Post # 14
Unfortunately, all C sections are not done for medical reasons and the percentage is climbing.
From the CDC, stats for 2012
- Number of vaginal deliveries: 2,650,744
- Number of Cesarean deliveries: 1,296,070
- Percent of all deliveries by Cesarean: 32.8%
Source: Births: Final Data for 2012, table
Some women think that a scheduled section is easier than labor, and some doctors like the fact that they can schedule a section and not have to be at the hospital in the middle of the night for a delivery.
Post # 15
There are also a few different types of C-sections:
- Unplanned C-sections: when the plan is to deliver vaginally, but things don’t go well for any of a number of reasons (can usually be done with epidural/spinal anesthetic so the mother is awake for the birth)
- Emergency (aka “crash”) C-sections: when something goes south very quickly and the baby needs to be delivered immediately (may need to be done with the mother under general anesthesia)
- Planned, scheduled elective C-sections because there is a known medical issue and it’s safer to do it that way than to attempt a vaginal birth (these often have the best recovery outcomes)
- Elective C-sections planned and scheduled because of convenience/preference rather than for a medical reason. These are a small percentage of the total and many physicians won’t do them, but some will, and they do happen.
So, it makes a difference to recovery what the reason was for the section, whether or not the woman went through labor, how far she got in labor, how long it lasted and how well or badly she came through that, and then how the surgery itself went. With all of those factors, recovery can be all over the map.