Anticipating your new baby is a lot of fun. You imagine all the cuddles and hugs you’ll give them, along with the love and nurturing you’ll provide. (And the sleepless nights.) But when it comes to delivery, especially a C-section, that anticipation can turn into worry. Is it going to hurt? Are you and your baby going to be safe? What can you actually feel during a C-section? If this is your first delivery, that last question may be weighing heavily on your mind.
Romper spoke with OB-GYN Mary O’Toole, from Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, and she explains that women usually feel touching and pressure during a C-section. Many women even describe the feeling as a tugging sensation.
Dr. Eva Martin of Elm Tree Medical tells Romper that she’s heard it described as someone rummaging around in your purse, while some women told Cosmopolitan that a C-section felt like pulling and tugging, while their bodies felt numb and slightly shaky from the pain medications. One woman described the moment of incision as a hot tickle, followed by significant pressure on her ribs.
Luckily, thanks to anesthesia, the pressure and tugging doesn’t involve pain. O’Toole tells Romper that she very carefully and thoroughly tests patients before starting the C-section. “If we are not confident in the patient’s comfort, the anesthesiologist may do repression (tilt the bed) to allow for better distribution of the spinal medication." She adds that they may add an IV medication to the spinal medications, or even use a local anesthetic on the incision site if necessary.
“We truly want the patient to be very comfortable," O'Toole says. So if you’re going to have a C-section, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about what they will do to keep you comfortable. You may even want to think about requesting a gentle C-section, where the delivery room environment and procedures are kept as similar as possible to a vaginal delivery. It might contribute to a more personal and pleasant experience in the delivery room, which can make a world of difference.
The best part about a C-section is that you’ll have a beautiful reward at the end of it, so as long as you’re prepared for someone to rummage around in your abdominal purse, you’ll be just fine.