Top 6 C-Section Questions from Expectant Moms
As c-section moms and inventor of C-Panty After C-section Recovery Underwear we get lots of questions surrounding c-section deliveries from nervous moms to be. We wanted to share our top 5 c-section related questions we receive.
1. During a c-section, do they really take out your uterus?
Yes, the uterus is what is commonly called “exteriorized,” or brought outside the body during a c-section delivery. “What?!!,” you say, “take the whole thing out?”. You got it. The doctor takes out the entire uterus and the fallopian tubes since they are attached. There are two good reasons for having the uterus outside the body during a c-section. The uterus is contracting whether the delivery is via a c-section or not. Can you image how challenging it would be to try to sew a moving object in a paper bag without seeing it? Well the same is true for a contracting and shrinking uterus inside the abdominal cavity. Being able to see the incision in the uterus and sew it closed while seeing it is preferred by many surgeons. Another good reason to remove the uterus is so that the doctor cab examine the uterus and fallopian tubes. The physician can do a visual inspection to make sure the surgical technique was perfect as well as to do a quick visual of any other problems. Think of it as the most through OB/GYN exam you will ever receive!
So that sore tummy after your c-section? Not so much from pushing if you pushed before delivery or from weak abdominals. The tenderness is from the disruption, aka separation, movement and handling of the tissues between the uterus and abdomen during surgery. The soreness and recovery curve can last a while, you will feel a little less sore every day but recovery can take up to 3 months.
2. Do they really cut through seven layers of tissue during a c-section?
Yes. The seven layers are the skin, fat, rectus sheath (medical term for the coating outside the abs), the rectus (abs, which are split along the grain somewhat more than cut), the parietal peritoneum (first layer surrounding the organs), the loose peritoneum and then the uterus, which is a very thick muscular layer. So again, sore in the belly after a c-section? Feeling discouraged you don’t feel back to normal in three weeks? Remember lots of work went on in there. Tissue healing is aggressive for three months but continues for 6 months to a year. Rest when you need it, get permission from your doctor for heavy physical activities and enjoy baby while giving yourself a mental break for not feeling like a million bucks right away.
3. Am I the only one having a c-section?
Absolutely not. C-section deliveries are actually the most common surgery in the United States.
4. Is it true your uterus increases 500% in size during pregnancy?
Let’s just start with the uterus expands a lot! As far as the 500%, it depends on what the 500% means. Think back to high school math with length vs area vs volume. In general, the uterus is about 6cm x 5cm x 2cm and when at full term it is 30cm x 23cm x 22cm. So for length, it increases 5x, for area, it increases about 250x (that is the L x W x H answer). For volume, however, if you consider the uterus as a sphere it increases about 500 times in size (Brookside’s Obstetric & Newborn Care, Emedicine.com).
Stretch anything 500 times and think how fast it will go back? I can’t think of anything except maybe silly putty that would do that, so give yourself a break and time to recover.
5. Why do I still bleed vaginally if I had a c-section?
The uterus still has remaining vascular activity after delivery. Once the incision is closed up, the only way for remaining blood and discharge to get out is the old fashioned natural way, through the vaginal opening. Just a word of caution, bleeding may be a little inconsistent, but if it is increasing over time (whether you had a vaginal or cesarean delivery), see your doctor.
6. At least I won’t go #2 on the table, right? Does everyone really poop during labor?
Finally something c-section moms get the better deal on! No pooping during delivery. And for non c-section moms, don’t worry if this did happen to you. We surveyed OBs and delivery nurses and they said it was no big deal and they stopped noticing during residency. Bottom line, they don’t care so moms shouldn’t either.