No two birth stories are alike, but that doesn't mean there aren't still some universal guidelines that can help any mom-to be. If you plan on having a Cesarean delivery (or even if you don't — birth is unpredictable) then you might be relieved to know that there are actually quite a few ways you can prepare for your C-section.
If you aren't familiar with the procedure, a c-section is "the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus," according to Baby Center. In most cases, the end result will leave you with a thin, horizontal scar slightly below your bikini line.
Due to multiple chronic illnesses which affected my pregnancy — Lupus, an autoimmune disease, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, and scoliosis, to name a few — I knew well in advance that I was going to have a medically necessary C-section. This gave me plenty of time to research, and it also gave me plenty of time to worry about every hypothetical situation in the book. Thankfully, you can ease your mind by knowing what to expect when you check out these things you can do to prepare for your C-section.
1. Go Paperless
Amelia Roberts, a registered nurse care coordinator for the Children's National Health System, tells Romper that you should, "know who to call for which concern and have this in your hand-held device versus a folder that may get lost." I can attest to the brilliance of this tip, because it was extremely nerve-wracking to keep track of multiple papers as I entered the hospital for delivery.
2. Ask For Assistance
Member of The Today Show's parenting team and author Jill Simonian tells Romper that you should, "ask for help for the first weeks following delivery — a friend, a relative, a doula to help with household duties so you can heal physically." Making time to take care of yourself ensures that you will be the best parent possible for your new baby.
3. Don't Rely On The Calendar
"Remember that your body doesn't know you have a C-section scheduled," Consumer Safety's health and nutrition investigator, Sydney Ziverts, tells Romper. "Since you could go into labor at any time, it's wise to have your bags packed and ready to go to reduce any last minute stress." It will be one less thing you have to worry about on your to-do list.
4. Go Over Details
Since you may still have unanswered questions leading up to the big day, obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Neha Singh Rathod says to Romper that you should, "meet your gynecologist a week before a planned cesarean so that they can guide you with dates, any necessary details, and information." Arming yourself with knowledge is the first step towards feeling truly prepared.
5. Own Your Birthing Experience
Childbirth preparation educator and birth doula Bailey Gaddis tells Romper that, "many women believe they would have little control with this category of birth, which can drain their sense of empowerment." In an effort to remind expectant mothers that they really do run the show, Gaddis says that you can make requests to create a comfortable environment. For instance, you could ask that the curtain be dropped as soon as your baby is delivered so you can have immediate skin-to-skin contact. Even little things, like picking your own playlist or asking for peace and quiet, can make the experience feel less clinical.
6. Schedule Services
If you're able to, investing in outside assistance can help you rest both before, during, and after your C-section. "Arrange for food delivery services, home cleaning services, and Task Rabbit (or other services) who can run errands," Roberts tells Romper. This way you can focus solely on you and your baby.
7. Ignore Negativity
This is the best piece of advice if you are preparing for a C-section. "Do not let anyone make you feel inadequate or guilty for having a C-section," Simonian tells Romper. "The object of the game is to get the baby out safely, for mother and child."