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C-Section for First Time Mom: Common Questions Answered

C-Section for First Time Mom Common Questions Answered
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Bringing a new life into the world is an incredible journey filled with joy and anticipation. While many first-time moms hope for a smooth vaginal delivery, circumstances may arise that lead to a cesarean section, commonly known as a C-section. Although C-sections are relatively common, they can still evoke uncertainty and questions for expectant mothers. In this article, we will address some of the most common questions about C-sections for first-time moms, helping to alleviate concerns and provide valuable information.

What is a C-section, and when is it necessary?

A cesarean section is a surgical procedure in which the baby is delivered through an incision made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. It is usually performed when vaginal delivery poses risks to the mother or baby’s health, such as fetal distress, placenta previa, or a breech presentation. Additionally, certain maternal conditions or complications may also warrant a C-section.

Can I choose to have a C-section even if it’s not medically necessary?

While it’s essential to have an open discussion with your OB/GYN Specialist about your preferences, elective C-sections without medical indication are generally discouraged. Medical guidelines recommend that C-sections be performed when there is a clear medical need. However, if you have concerns or fears about vaginal delivery, it is crucial to communicate them with your healthcare team to receive appropriate guidance and support.

How is a C-section performed, and what can I expect during the procedure?

Prior to a C-section, you will receive anesthesia, and nowadays, most C-sections are performed under epidural anesthesia. The epidural is a regional anesthetic that numbs the lower half of your body, allowing you to be awake and aware during the procedure. This approach has several advantages over general anesthesia (GA). With an epidural, you and your partner can witness the birth of your baby and be present for those special moments.

What are the potential risks and complications associated with a C-section?

Like any surgery, a C-section carries some risks. These may include infection, bleeding, blood clots, reactions to anesthesia, damage to surrounding organs, and a longer recovery period compared to vaginal delivery. Additionally, if you plan to have more children, a C-section can slightly increase the risk of complications in future pregnancies. However, it’s important to note that most C-sections are performed without complications, and your healthcare team will take necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

How does recovery after a C-section differ from vaginal birth?

Recovering from a C-section may require a longer hospital stay, typically three nights, compared to a vaginal delivery where patients usually stay for about two nights. After a C-section, you may experience discomfort and soreness around the incision site, and it will take time for the incision to heal completely. Following your OB/GYN Specialist’s instructions on wound care, pain management, and physical activity restrictions is crucial for a smooth recovery. Accepting help from family and friends during the early postpartum period can greatly aid in your healing process. 

As for considering Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), it’s important to note that VBAC carries certain risks. The most serious complication of VBAC is the risk of uterine rupture, which can be life-threatening for both the mother and the baby. If you are considering VBAC, it’s essential to have an in-depth discussion with your Obstetrician to thoroughly understand the risks and benefits. Your doctor will assess your individual medical history and circumstances to determine if VBAC is a safe option for you.

Will I be able to have a vaginal birth in future pregnancies after a C-section?

The possibility of a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) depends on several factors, including the reason for your initial C-section, the type of uterine incision performed, and your overall health. Many women who have had a previous C-section can safely deliver vaginally in subsequent pregnancies. Discuss your options and concerns with your OB/GYN Specialist to determine the best approach for your future pregnancies.

While a C-section may not be the birth experience you initially envisioned, it is sometimes necessary for the well-being of both mother and baby. By understanding the process, risks, and recovery associated with C-sections, first-time moms can approach the procedure with greater confidence and peace of mind.

Remember to maintain open communication with your OB/GYN specialist and seek support from loved ones as you embark on this unique journey of welcoming your little one into the world.

Reviewed by Dr Phua Soo Mear on 10 August 2023. 
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Dr Phua Soo Mear
Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Gynae Health Clinic Pte Ltd
A wholly owned subsidiary of   Singapore Women’s & Children’s Medical Group
Blk 211 Hougang Street 21
Singapore 530211
Tel: +65 6282 8960

Dr Phua Soo Mear is a medical specialist in Obstetrics & Gynaecology with almost 30 years of experience. Dr Phua Soo Mear graduated from National University of Singapore in 1983 with the degree of MBBS. He was awarded the Ministry of Health specialist traineeship in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 1986. Dr Phua passed the Membership examination of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in 1989. He was awarded Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetrician & Gynaecologist in 2003. Dr Phua worked in the O&G departments at the former Toa Payoh General Hospital and Kandang Kerbau Hospital from 1986 to 1992. He started the Gynae Health Clinic at Kovan in 1993.

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