Tips for a better C-Section


When I first discovered I’d be having a C-section, I felt frightened and overwhelmed. Like many new moms, my C-section was unexpected and I hadn’t thought about it or prepared for it. While meeting my son for the first time was incredible, my overall experience was very negative. I had missed out on some essential bonding time with my baby after delivery; struggled with breastfeeding; and overall, did not feel adequately supported.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew that if I needed another C-section, I wanted it to be very different from my first experience. I spoke with several maternal health professionals, had a prenatal visit with a lactation consultant, and created a plan to have a better c-section. My second c-section was a remarkably smoother and very positive experience. Here are some tips that have helped me have a better C-section experience.

1. Know your hospital policies

Make sure to inquire about your hospitals policies regarding the care of you and your baby. Is the hospital baby friendly? Can you have skin to skin contact after the baby is born (skin to skin can be facilitated in the OR)? Will they bring the baby to breastfeed once you are in recovery?

With my first C-Section, I didn’t ask any of these questions and passively accepted the way care was being given. However, after I gained a thorough knowledge of my hospitals policies, I was empowered to make small changes in my care that supported bonding, breastfeeding, and provided an overall better experience.

For example, my first born was whisked to the nursery minutes after being born, while my surgery was being completed. He was not brought to me until almost two hours after his birth. With my daughter, I requested that she stay in the OR with me, and I was able to breastfeed as soon as I was brought into the recovery room. It was a small change that made huge difference for both of us.


2. Limit visitors

Before allowing friends and family to visit, give yourself time to rest, recover, and bond with your new baby. My daughter was born in the morning and we didn’t allow any visitors until that evening. I was very sick after her birth and this decision allowed me to spend the limited energy I had bonding with her rather than trying to be social.

3. Bring an Ergobaby nursing pillow

However you plan to feed your baby, having a supportive pillow is a must. The abdominal incision is incredibly sore post-surgery, and a supportive nursing pillow allows you to comfortably feed your baby without putting pressure on the incision. My Ergobaby nursing pillow was a lifesaver. I’d tried many other nursing pillows but found they weren’t very supportive. This pillow allowed me to comfortably breastfeed hours after my surgery.


Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

4. Be honest about your feelings

After my c-section I felt sad that I wasn’t able to have the natural birth I had planned. While I was incredibly grateful for my healthy baby and the fact that I had access to the medical care I needed, I felt like I missed out on an essential part of womanhood. Both of my c-sections were scheduled, and there was no labor or build up to the moment of birth. I was strapped onto an OR table, felt a bit of pressure, and suddenly had a baby. It was incredibly surreal and I felt disconnected from my body and the weight of the moment.

If you are feeling sad about your C-Section, it’s important to be honest with yourself about those feelings. Talk about them with someone you trust and acknowledge any loss or disappointment you may feel. The more you are able to process your emotions, the more you can own your birth story and see it’s unique beauty.