9 Things You Can Expect When You Have A Cesarean Delivery

A cesarean delivery is not as 'simple' as it sounds, so it will help those who opt for it or have one in an emergency to know what to expect.

It’s highly likely that almost all millennial women have heard numerous stories about a cesarean delivery in their neighborhood, in their teenage years. I have many times been told:

‘Lavanya gave birth to a baby boy. She voluntarily opted for a cesarean delivery as it is a painless delivery procedure’.

‘Sunitha is in labor pain for more than 3 hours. Her parents can’t bear to see her in pain. They have pleaded with the doctor to do a cesarean for her’.

‘There are still two weeks until my daughter’s due date. But today is an auspicious day. I wish my grandson/granddaughter would come to this earth on this amazing day. The weight and growth of the baby are good enough. So I requested the doctor to perform a cesarean today’.

‘I wish for a safe delivery without any complications. Hence I prefer a cesarean delivery’.

‘Earlier they used to cut big and deep for a cesarean. But now-a-days, they make a very small incision, so nothing to worry about.’

So on and so forth…!

Back then, to someone like me, who was completely oblivious of the delivery and childbirth process, all the above stories created a positive impact on me about a caesarean delivery.

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Of course, it is a safe process, but is it really as easy and as painless as it sounds?

When I became pregnant, I had a complication. My baby was in a breech position. Until 36 weeks, my baby didn’t turn to a head down position. The doctors hinted that I could undergo a cesarean delivery. After experiencing the procedure myself, I got answers to all my questions related to it.

What would it be like to undergo a cesarean delivery?

Relax in the OT with consciousness

Spinal anesthesia numbs the lower half of your body. Yet, you might feel the sensations of pushes and tugs performed by the doctor to bring the baby out. Lie down and experience the procedure without any fear.

Out of the bed the next day

You will be made to walk within 24 hours of your delivery. It is going to be damn painful. Still, you have to walk as it is mandatory to have bowel movement, blood circulation, and prevent blood clots. Hence, endure your pains and get up for the best.

Switches hurt stitches

You might experience immense pain in the cut area when switching from sitting to lying position and vice versa for a minimum of one week. Slow down while getting up from bed or while lying back in bed. Better to turn to your side and switch position, as during your pregnancy, to ease the pain.

Cough-not, laugh-not

The injected anesthesia induces frequent coughing. Hold on! You aren’t supposed to cough; nor laugh out loud. Any action which imparts pressure on your lower stomach is going to be painful. Hence it is better to avoid coughing and laughing until your pain subsides.

Postpartum swelling

Most new moms might expect to return back to their original shape immediately after delivering the baby. In contrast, you might feel extra puffy because of the accumulated fluids in your body. Postpartum swelling majorly occurs in the legs, feet, and face. It might take a week’s time for your body to flush out those fluids. To ease swelling, have good movement throughout the day, elevate your legs while sitting, avoid standing or sitting for a long time, and wear a compression stocking if prescribed.


You might lose control over your urinary bladder and might end up urinating in the bed for a few days post delivery. 1 in 3 women experience urine leakage post-childbirth (normal and cesarean). This condition will improve over time and you will soon regain control. Until then, don’t get devastated; team up with your baby instead.

Spine in vain

You might experience frequent back pain for no reason. When your spine is in vain, even normal activities like sitting, standing, and laying down can be in pain. So, take care of your spinal postures right from the start. The pain in the injected area might repeat any number of times in the future. It would persist for a specific period and then vanish back. Hence, voluntarily take measures to avoid such pain. Once you recover completely, try gentle exercises to strengthen your spine and continue those throughout.

A big belly

When you step out of your house post cesarean, don’t be surprised when outsiders sympathize with you as they would for a pregnant lady; some might even question ‘How many months now?’. These gestures, along with not fitting into your favorite outfits, might be depressing. Prioritize your body and health above these hurtful thoughts. After all, your uterus had stretched from the size of a lemon to the size of watermelon during pregnancy. It is unfair to expect it to return back to its original size immediately. It sure will shrink, just give it time. Eat a balanced diet, keep yourself hydrated, and cut down on junk and sugary foods.

A split

You might feel the split in your body – the upper half and lower half – while performing yoga, stretches, or high-intensity workouts. Though the normal healing period post cesarean is around six to eight weeks, it is better to be cautious until you consciously feel that you are good to go. In a hurry to regain your original shape, do not put yourself at risk. Take it slow and steady.

You may or may not have all these, but it’s good to be prepared!

Not every woman who undergoes cesarean might necessarily experience the above factors. And it is not that women who give birth normally experience less pain. Though the grass is always greener on the other side, each side has its own obstacles and challenges.

Unlike other surgeries, we end up with a little bundle of joy post-cesarean. Hence, we overlook the difficulties caused by it. A ‘small incision’ in your abdomen and uterus is not as easy as it sounds. Make sure that the after-effects of cesarean don’t have impacts on your mental health. Handle yourself with love and care.

Cesarean has not just become a medical advancement in emergency cases and high-risk deliveries; it has also become a lifestyle advancement amongst common people. It’s all about the people’s evolving mindset to accept surgery as a regular and normal process of childbirth.

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About the Author

Gayathri Venkatesan

Instructional Designer by profession; Writer by passion. A self sculpting mother exploring life in various dimensions. read more...

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