16 answers

C- Section Moms--Did Anyone Opt Not to Have the Urinary Catheter?

Hi Mamas,

I am pregnant with my second child and will be having a scheduled c-section for various health reasons but primarily my bladder- it can not withstand a vaginal delivery. My previous delivery turned into an emergency and we almost lost my son. So this time it is planned and will hopefully be a more positive experience. My question is, did anyone opt to not have the urinary catheter put in during delivery? I had extensive damage done from the previous birth that I am seriously considering not having the catheter at all. I don't want to undo the treatments that I have undergone to then start back at square one. I am wondering if there is anyone else who was able to have the c-section without it and do just fine(bladder wise)even though you are numb and tired after surgery. I have discussed this with my doctor and she has said that it is possible, but there are pros/cons she will go over with me at my next prenatal. Please respond if you can--

Thank you so much!!

M.

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So What Happened?™

Dear Mamas,

Thank you so much for responding!!! I have thought about it a lot and have decided to get the catheter, but to only have it as long as it's needed. Thank you for your advice and support!!!

M.

Featured Answers

I never knew that you could do that. I have had 4 children; all c-section and always had to have that catheter put in and hated it. I am interested in the pros and cons for this not being placed in.

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Dear Molly,
For one thing, when you have a spinal, etc, you actually lose control of your bodily functions. The don't actually put one in so you don't whiz all over the sterile O.R., but there are times when you simply cannot void your bladder on your own. In my situation, I literally begged for a catheter because I hurt so badly from needing to pee I was about to burst! You can't imagine how many times I tried to pee. Nothing.
The catheter just drained everything and I was so relieved. I've had so many surgeries that I just knew to tell them not to do the catheter until I was either numbed or out.
Catheters are so gross when you think about it, but I couldn't have lived without mine. During a C-section, they can monitor your urine output as opposed to it just leaking or flooding everywhere. They can take it right out after your baby is born unless you still have trouble peeing. I have no bladder damage whatsoever from all the surgeries and catheters I've had.
Take care! Relax.

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I think its good to explore your options. I had a c-section and couldn't feel my legs for many hours so I don't know how possible it is to go without a catheter. Unless there is some other way to be anesthetised.

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the urinary catheter helps to prevent injuries to the bladder . IF i where you I would let them put the catheter in and then as soon as your anthesia is worn off have them take it out.good luck.

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HI

M.

Generally it is not an option to forgo the catheter. It is necessary during surgery to have your bladder remain empty and that is accomplished with the catheter.

I can be placed after you receive your spinal and you can encourage the staff to remove it as soon as you can get up and down to reliably urinate on your own.

Bladder damage can also be caused by retained urine as can an increase in bleeding after birth so the catheter in c-sections are very important

T. mclean
Doula
Student midwife

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Hi M.,
I do not believe it is an option these days when you are going into surgery.
F.Y.I they tell you the procedure is "uncomfortable" - with that being said, please make sure you have your catheter inserted after your spinal is done. In my experience it is rather painful to do it w/o MEDs, who ever came up with the word "uncomfortable" should be shot! : )
And try to have it removed as soon as possible so be prepared to have to urinate on your own to have this done.
You will be fine... best wishes on your new baby!
C

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Congratulations on your pregnancy. I had a planned c section and was not bothered by my catheter at all. It was removed without any problems several hours after the procedure. I expected it to be painful but wasn't.
Good luck!

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Asside from the difficulties of urinating...you run a huge risk of having your bladder sliced in to on initial incision. I have been told it is very unpleasent to deal with. Definately talk to your OB. Get a second opinion from a medical professional if you still have doubts and cannot get anymore info from your OB.

Best of luck to you!

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I had the cath put in during my C section, but my doctor ordered in removed at 2 hours after surgery. This was because he wanted me up and walking ASAP, which I think contributed to a very quick low pain healing for me. The downside was that for whatever reason I could not pee until the next day - I guess my some part of my urinary tract or muscles relating to it were paralzyed from the spinal morpine I had during surgery. It was necessary for the nurses to drain my bladder manually twice the day of delivery which I found to be embarrssing but not a big deal otherwise.

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When I had a c section they did not put the catheter in right away and my bladder stretched too much because I couldn't relieve myself on my own and that gave me a longer recovery. You probably need the catheter for the safety and health of your bladder.

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I had an unplanned C-section with my only child. It was unplanned in that I went through natural childbirth with no drugs, but after pushing for 3.5 hours, my son started having fetal distress, so the doctors said a C-section was necessary. They did little prep on me (i.e. didn't even shave me--just whisked me into surgery so fast that my husband barely had time to get into the gown, etc. so he could be in the delivery room. If the doctors put in a catheter, it was in after I was under and out before I woke up. I had no problem getting up to urinate. In fact, I didn't even end up with hemaroids from pushing so long. I had a very easy pregnancy--no morning sickness,just fat feet and heartburn. However, since my son was born shortly after my 40th birthday, the doctors did watch me closely (and I went through the regular tests for birth defects. In addition, I usually don't have problems with surgery--I needed no pain pills after two recent surgeries.

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I never knew that you could do that. I have had 4 children; all c-section and always had to have that catheter put in and hated it. I am interested in the pros and cons for this not being placed in.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the catheter with my daughter who was born vaginally-once they did the epidural-I did have some lasting issues-but not to my bladder. I felt that one, even with the epidural, and it was not a comfortable experience.

With my twin boys-while my c-section was not scheduled (they were premature) it was planned in that we knew they were breach, so I did not labor first at all. A catheter was never discussed, so I have no idea if one was placed-but the procedure was very quick.

So I'd say whether it is used or not-it is different when you labor/push-than when you don't have to get that far.

Best of luck.

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Hi M.,

I had my first C-Section with my last baby at 23 weeks along. It is impossible to not have catheter at all. Once you're numb from chest to toes, you have no control over your bladder. You wouldn't be able to feel if you're actually peeing. That is why they put catheters to all the woman who is having c-section. You can't feel it once it is put in and taken out. After the surgery, you wouldn't be able to get up and walk by yourself for at least 6-8hrs until the numbness in your legs and feet goes away completly. All pts have catheters during surgery, no question about it. Good luck with your c-section.

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M. -
It sounds like you have a big decision to make! I have had both of my children by C-Section and the one thing I can say from my experience is that after having them I was in no shape to get up and use the restroom. Have you asked if there is a specialist that can insert the catheter? Another option is to ask for a pediatric nurse to insert it. This might sound crazy, but they are used to taking their time and being very precise in how they do such procedures. I would just ask if you are to opt to have one who would be the best person to insert it.

Whatever decision you make - just feel confident in it. You don't want to have to worry about that when you should be enjoying such a momentous occasion. Good Luck!

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Wow, what a big decision to make! At least you've discussed it with your doctor and she says there IS an option. Good comment by Priscilla, maybe a urologist can assist? Your situation and condition sounds very unique. Sorry, I don’t have any experience in what you’re asking nor have any of my C-Section friends gone without the catheter. But I can give you words of encouragement that my first C-Section was not a great experience, but the the second one was REALLY great. I think the Anesthesiologist made all the difference really. He caused no pain or discomfort from the epidural, managed my BP really well and also managed all of my discomforts during the surgery. I was much more ‘present’ the second time for all the emotions AND sensations & so have a better memory and experience. Maybe that could also be part of the delivery plan with your doctor, which anesthesiologist she works best with AND which has the best reputation. Good luck!

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I had a cather after my son and they pulled it out early. I almost had to have it back in. My bladder was so full and I couldnt go. They were worried, we tried everything in the book and I ended up getting a hot pad on my back adn then had 3rd degree burns becuase of it!
A catheter it soooo small, they would have to be very violent to actually do damage to your eurethra track. I wouldnt worry about it.

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