Even though a third of U.S. births happen via C-section, most people who have them know very little about what to expect during and after the surgery. There are reasons for this: CDC data shows that most C-sections are unplanned and performed on people delivering for the first time. That means most people having C-sections have never had one before and probably assume they are having a vaginal birth. Still, given the 1-in-3 odds of delivering via major abdominal surgery, it might be better if every pregnant person knew more about what goes down during a Cesarean. Here are some aspects of the experience that surprised other parents, and a few things experts wish birthing people knew about the procedure ahead of time.
Genevieve Smith, a labor and delivery nurse in Summit, New Jersey
Emily Bruno, a birth doula based in Richmond, Virginia
Carrie Dean, an international board certified lactation consultant
Cheyenne Varner, another Richmond, Virginia-based birth doula