36 answers

Preparing for C-section

Any advice for preparing for a c-section? I had an emergency c-section last time so I am not sure what I am in for. I am nervous about the night before and just waiting for the surgery to begin. My husband will be with me so that will help, but I would love tips from moms who have been there.

Tips? Suggestions for preparing/helping nerves the day of?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

The baby is here! Thank you to everyone who gave me great feedback on the c-section. WE got to the hospital and felt really prepared, then checked in, played games and they took me in right on time.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond with great procedure info and tips on prep. We now have a beautiful baby girl and will enjoy celebrating her birth!

More Answers

I used to work as a L&D scrub tech, and everyone that comes in for a planned c-section after an unplanned one feels just like you do...

Just relax and try not to worry. There are just a few things that will be different. They'll likely do a spinal block, which is basically the same as an epidural if you already had one with your first when they did the section. You'll sit on the side of the OR table and they'll clean your back with the cold iodine-type stuff. They'll numb you with lidocaine, which will be the worst part. It stings like a bee sting followed by a little burning when the medicine goes in. Then, they'll put the medication in your back, but there won't be a catheter like with an epidural. Your feet will probably already be a little numb when they help you lay down on the table. Then, they'll do the draping just like last time and the doctor will pinch you with some big tweezers to make sure you're numb before they start the surgery. Then it will be about 10 or 15 minutes until you get to meet your baby!

One great thing is that you won't be as sore after your surgery as you probably were after laboring and then having a section!

Just take a deep breath and realize that it won't be nearly as bad as you imagine!

2 moms found this helpful

Try to relax with a warm soak in the tub the night before! Try to concentrate on the baby you will be holding in your arms. I had a emerg. c cection with the first one as well and i had one with my twins 3 months ago it was different i did not have an epidural the second time just a saddle block they call it that was the only thing different. i also brought cards to play with my husband to pass the time away so i would keep my mind off what was going to happen and it gave us time to calm each other.

good luck i am sure every thing will be fine

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,

My nine month old is the result of a repeat c-section after an emergency c-section the first time. I too was very nervous. All I knew was the train wreck that happened the first time. The second time felt controlled, it was a relaxed environment.

Don't know about your story, but my first was already in labor. So my body went through the contractions, then got pulled out of that for a surgery. The second time, I never went into labor, and I felt my healing time was SOOO much faster. With my first I was dying that day after. It was all I could do to get out of bed. THe second time around I was out of bed, messing around with stuff in the room. My pain was much more controlled.

Relax. I know it is scary because it IS a major abdominal surgery. It will be a totally different experience for you. Best wishes and congratulations on your new bundle of joy!!

1 mom found this helpful

Repeat c-sections can be scary b/c you over think it. When you had an emergency c-section, everything goes so quickly you don't have time to think but I have had a repeat c-section. It went much smoother and I actually enjoyed being concious when my baby was born. Everything went on w/out a hitch and recovery was MUCH sooner. I am so glad I had the repeat section. My baby ended up being 9lbs 13oz! Good Luck .. don't overthink it.. just be excited that you are going to have an adoreable lil baby in your arms soon! Get some rest.. !

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.. I just want you to know that I had an emergency c-section with my first one as well. My Dr. was going to let me try to go natural again with my second (which came 17 months later) but that did not happen either. With that being said, I have had 4 c-sections now. With the last 2, I was very nervous going into the surgery room, but was always relaxed by the time the spinal block was in and I was laying down with my husband by my side. Everything went smooth with each of them. I have to say that with each one the recovery was a little more difficult afterwards, but I think that it was from me trying to do to much to quickly. SO listen to you doctor and take it easy afterwards. (It is really hard when there are other children at home who need mommy).
Best of luck to you and your growing family -- no mattter how the baby comes out -- the end result is you have a new baby to hold and it is all worth it!! Best wishes and God Bless.

1 mom found this helpful

I've had three c-sections my last one a year ago. You will go into the hospital at the specific time and they hook you up to moniters and get your IV going. YOu will wait awhile and they do blood work and paper stuff. They may give you somthing to relax, but it doesn't know you out, right before you leave for surgery. Might make you a bit talkative. YOu should meet the anastheologist(SP)and talk about your spinal if you choose to be awake. YOu may get to see your DR too. You will either get wheeled down or they may let you walk to the surgery room. They will have you sit up on the table and give you your spinal and your legs will get heavy and they will have you lay down. They are talking to you the whole time. I felt very comfortable. Remember until they are ready to start the actual surgery your hubby won't be there they will get him just before they start. I had one nurse that stayed with me from the beginning until after I left recovery that was very nice because I got to know her while she did all the paper work and stuff before hand. They bring hubby in do the surgery, show you baby you may even be able to hold him/her. Afer surgery they take you to recovery where you can nurse baby or ask to. YOu won't be in any pain at that point because you will still be really numb. You should be for most of the day into the evening. On the second day you'll be more uncomfortable(don't hesitate to let them know, you are in charge here) just move slowly and use a folded blanket or pillow over your incision area when you get up that support helps alot. If you get shoulder pain it can be from the build up of gas that was created during surgery if you aren't passing it they can give you a suppository to help things move along. The pain meds don't help with gas pains. You know the rest from last time. My biggest advice is to be your own boss don't be afraid to be bold and ask for things. If you are in pain not just uncomfortable let them know they may or maynot be able to help. If you don't understand something they are doing ask and ask again if you don't get it or you just don't think it is necessary. You know your body. If somthing was bad last time let them know what it was and that you don't want to do it again. Good luck. C-sections aren't easy but the reward is amazing. Kiss baby when they arrive.

1 mom found this helpful

I too had an emergency c-section with my first. 22 months later, I had a planned section with my 2nd, but my water ended up breaking early....I went into labor naturally, and kinda wished I would have tried to have him vaginally. But we proceeded with a c-section cuz it was what was planned, I knew what to expect afterwards, etc.
This 3rd (and last =) time, I have surgery scheduled for August 19th. Obviously the risks are much much higher with attempting a VBAC after two sections already. I am scheduled to be there at approx. 5:30 with my surgery scheduled at 8:30. To be honest, the thing that worries me the most is not being able to eat or drink ANYTHING after midnight the night before....lol
I do know I get a bit nervous when I first get numbed cuz I don't like the feeling of not having control over my legs, but I have made my doctor and husband aware and i am aware that that anxiety might happen, so we know how to handle it at the time. Also, the curtain really seems to bother me, I feel SO claustrophobic, but again, they work with me on that, and get it away from my face as far as possible.........so I should be fine.

Like the other moms said - Just know what you will be getting out of the situation and enjoy your lil one when they arrive!!!


PS - I really don't believe this one is gonna wait till his scheduled date either...............so my children are always full of surprises from birth (all boys)

1 mom found this helpful

My second wsa born the with scheduled C-section. It went very smoothly. My only complaint was with the Spial. The one I had was a 2-part spinal. The first part had the numbing stuff in the and the 2nd part had morphine in it. The morphine made me itch so bad. I wanted to claw my skin off!! I talked to my dr at my follow up visit and he said that reaction is very common and they make the spinal without the morphine. Just something to think about. Other than that everything went very well. I feel I healed

I stocked up on freezer meals & premade foods in our freezer the weekend before. I also bought a ton of canned goods and things to make life easier for me & my family for a few weeks.

Good luck and enjoy your hospital stay. I loved being waited on hand & foot.

Hey A., I've never been through a c-section, Ijust wanted to wish you good luck...relax and have confidence in the Dr. and the nurses( esp. the nurses, it seems they usually did most of the work in the delivery room when I had mine!)
Anyway, I wish you great luck with the birth and enjoy your beautiful baby!! This is such an exciting time isn't it?!! :)
D. R.

I too had an emergency c-section with my first and a scheduled c for my second. I was actually scheduled for a c with my first but he couldn't wait. There really is no preparing. Just have your bag packed and away you go. Don't eat or drink after midnight. I actually overslept...guess she really didn't want to come out yet. Good luck!


Hi A.,
It won't be so different than it was last time for you. I've had 2 c-sections as well. They'll prep you by doing the epidural, you'll relax. Than in no time the baby will be taken out the same way as last time, it just won't be an EMERGENCY! Which will be so much more relaxing. You'll feel dopey and tired. Just make sure that your husband takes lots of pictures after the baby gets cleaned up and brought to you. My fiance took pictures when they were cleaning our daughter up and he took pictures of us bonding. But we never got any mom, dad & baby pics together. Which your also gonna want. Make sure that you get plenty of rest and eat what's right. You'll do just great! Everything will be alright. I'm sure your baby is very healthy and you've done everything you could do while you were pregnant to make sure the baby was safe and healthy. So you don't have anything more to worry about, let the doctor do the rest! The recovery will be easier this time than it was the last. Plus the healing process will be so much quicker. : ) Good Luck & Congrats!!!

The best advice I can give is to know the procedure so you are not freaking out over what they are going to do. My second child was a c-section (unexpected but not emergency) and third and fourth were VBAC without complications. I personally hated my c-section but love my child the same which is the most important thing. Anyway, first off I would eat lightly the night before and get plenty of sleep. When I had my section the first thing they did was prep me which included the epidural followed by a little shave and a catheter (not sure if they still do this or not)....I was made to lie flat on my back so the meds took evenly. They wouldn't give me anything for my nerves until after the baby was out (which is best for baby). Before they start they make sure you are numb (give you a good hard pinch)....you can ask for a mirror if you want to watch (I couldn't).....you feel a lot of pushing and shoving (pressure not pain) and voila.....beautiful, perfectly round baby to have and hold. Oh they also strap your arms down.....just so you are prepared...standard procedure....at least 10 years ago. You can check with your doctor on current procedures which vary at hospitals and with doctors. Hope this helps. I don't know your situation but have you given VBAC any consideration? Some doctors don't offer it as a possibility but if your first section was done with a side to side incision (uterine) then you should be able to try VBAC if you want. No pressure just giving friendly info. You have to make the decision that is best for you and your baby :-)


Everyone thought I was nuts. I didn't need to be at the hospital until 11 for my noon C-sect so I went into work in the morning. There were some last minute things I needed to get wrapped up before going on 8 weeks of leave that I wasn't able to get done the day before. It kept my mind off the surgery...

Like others have said, this won't be an emergency situation so it will be much more relaxed.

it is not that bad actualy since u had already had an emergency one. i had one & i had a spinal insted of an epidural they r alot better because u can get up quicker with that.just take it easy &enjoy .

Hi A. - I had a planned c-section and it was so smooth. Emergency ones are evidently a little rough. My experience went something like this (surgery time scheduled for 8 am). . . we arrived at the hospital at 6 am, got checked in and in a prep/recovery room. The nurse came, started my iv around 7 pm and my hubby and I just hung out alone in the room (we didn't want anyone else in there to keep my nerves calmer). We talked and took pics. Around 7:45, my hubby got his "ghostbuster" outfit on and went out to tell our parents that I was going into the room. I went into the surg room at 7:45 too, got my spinal, was numb by 8 am (with Devon in the room holding my hand. My baby boy was born at 8:12 am and I was back in the recovery room by 8:45 am and in my regular room by 10 am. The recovery wasn't bad. I was up and moving a bit(slowly) the next afternoon late and walking pretty well by day 3/4. Best wishes for a safe and happy delivery!

I didn't have a c-section, but I do have some thoughts...

I'm not sure how soon your baby is due, and whether you're chosing a second c-section or your medical team is suggesting it, but if there's time, it might be worth looking into VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) because it's very possible that you could do it if you're a candidate. There are doctors in the area who do VBAC--I think you might check with Dr. Stephen Guy's practice in Vandalia/Miami Valley hospital. Either way, I would HIGHLY recommend having a doula with you. She would be able to help you relax, and could also be an advocate for you whether you have a vaginal birth or c-section. You can look for a doula on the DONA website at http://www.dona.org/ but I would also highly recommend A. Chavez if you're in the Dayton area. She was my doula and has helped women with all kinds of births. It was so important to me to have that kind of support in the process.

Good luck and take care, I'm hoping it all works out well!

Hi A.
I had two c-sections. My first baby was frank breech and after trying to turn him, I stayed to have a c. With my second, it was my choice to not try vbac. I thought that I would be extremely nervous the night before and day of, and I don't do well with the blood & all. I cleaned like a mad woman the days leading up to. I think this was a combination of nesting and just knowing that it would be a while after we got home that I'd be doing any cleaning; that we'd need every minute with the kids. I think that just plain helped poop me out so I slept better. I don't know how this fits into your personal beliefs but what helped me the most was prayer. I felt a strange peace that I absolutely didn't expect - leading up to and during the surgery/delivery. My husband had told me details from my first c that i thought for sure would haunt me and make me more nervous (he told me right after my 1st, not realizing I'd have another!) but it didn't. I prayed that I'd feel peace and just enjoy the birth of my baby - and I sure did. I pray that this will work for you as well!
Also, Melissa F is telling the truth - the second time around, recovery was much quicker and less painful! It was almost unreal!

First of all,are you sure you need a repeat C-sec.? Just because you had an emergency one with the 1st, doesn't automatically mean you need a 2nd.
If you do need to have a repeat for whatever reason, I would suggest reading about them so that you educate yourself (and your hubby)so you know what to expect. I've had 3 and the 2nd and 3rd were much easier in terms of recovery, etc. because I knew what to expect.
Just FYI, there's a great organization for cesarean prevention information and support in the Cleveland area if you're interested......

Bring distractions! My surgery was supposed to be at noon, and they pushed it back until 4:00, so I sat there in a little paper gown for 4 hours just waiting! I had a book and magazines but it didn't really help. My husband was there most of the time and we played cards for a bit, and that seemed to make time go faster and helped me forget a little about what exactly I was waiting for.
Good luck!

Dear A.:
I had three c-sections. All were very successful. My first c-section was after 17 hours of labor. So I was very exhausted going into the surgery. I had my next baby when my first was 25 months old. I scheduled the c-section for this one. I was a little anxious, because I didn't know what to expect. I was miserable after the first c-section. My mother came and helped me so that was a big help for my husband and myself. There was so much excitement to have my second baby that I didn't worry a whole lot. Not knowing whether I was having a boy or a girl I felt like I was going to the hospital to get my lay away. Anyway, get plenty of rest before you go or as much as you can with an 18 month old. My recovery was much quicker not being in labor for hours before going into a surgery. As for the night before, tell your husband to be patient with you and to let you do whatever you want. I wanted to go to the Mall so bad just to walk around, and when we got there after about 10 minutes, I didn't want to be there anymore. My mom and husband were very patient with me. They let me do and be any way that I wanted to be. Congratulations and I hope that this helped you in any way. Enjoy your little blessings from God.

I too had and emergency c-section with my daughter. I would just say try to relax (yeah right!). It's normal to be nervous. You may consider asking your OB to give you something to help calm your nerves. I was in the hospital before induction and they gave me an Ambien to help me sleep. I know that some docs will give you something to help take the edge off your nerves. Also, please do not feel bad for having a repeat c-section. I know several people have mentioned a VBAC, but if the c-section works for you...then do it! I just don't want you to feel bad for your choice. Where we're at doctors won't even do VBACs. So, I wish you the best of luck! Enjoy your new little one when he/she finally comes!

Relax, you've done it before, you can do it again. You will just be awake this time and be able to expirence your wonderful baby sooner!

I have had 4 c-sections. Two unplanned and two planned. I was nervous about the first planned one also and went to my cousin for advise.

The worst thing, in my opinion, was that my husband was not allowed in the OR for the spinal. But as soon as it was in he was right by my side. In a way, it was a lot calmer being planned and there wasn't a lot of hurry-hurry. Everything seemed less stressful.

Tell your dr. and your anesthiesiologist (sorry about the spelling) your fears and they will walk you thru everything and it will help put you at ease. At least it did me.

The prep is easy - IV and getting into the beautiful gown. Then to the OR where you drink the nausea medicine and get the spinal. The the surgery and baby is here. Then back to recovery for a bit until you get to your room. They do have a new pain medicine that lasts for 18 - 24 hours so that is nice.

Best of luck

(Mom of 4 boys 8-7-2-1)

Just one more thought, in addition to what everyone else already suggested, you might ask your Dr. for something to help you get some sleep the night before your surgery. They will probably give you something like Ambien, but Tylenol PM would work just as well and is safe during pregnancy. I was in the hospital the night before my induction and they had no problem giving me something for sleep. It'll help you (maybe) not be so exhausted when the baby gets here! Good luck to you =-)

I, too, had an emergency c-section the first time, although it was 24 yrs ago. The planned c-section the second time (21 yrs ago), was quite different. The first required a spinal, the 2nd was an epidural. I was quite surprised that I could move my toes and feel the Dr touching me when he asked for the scalpel! He said that was normal, but if I needed more anesthesia, they could do that. I did require a little more in the epidural when they were pulling my son out, but the recovery was quicker than the full spinal. Other than the difference between the spinal and the epidural, there really weren't any differences - of course, my memory's not quite what it used to be!
Best of luck,

I'm just curious. Why are you having a repeat Cesarean birth? I've never had one, but I would imagine that a planned one would be easier to deal with than an emergency. I don't know that there's really anything you can do to 'prepare' for it though.

Are you not a candidate for a VBAC? Are you interested in one? I'm just wondering.

God bless,

Hi A.,

I had to have a C-section with my first because I wasn't dilating anymore. I had an epidural with him. I talked with my ob/gyn on my second child and we decided on a planned C-section (I brought it up) with both I had high blood preassure. Also, with my 2nd I was to 38 yo by my due date. I even had to have contractions stopped a month before I delivered. Anyhow, I am so glad I went with another C-section. With him I had a spinal and I was bleeding heavily and was given something to stop the heavy bleeding. I was actually in labor that day and didn't even know it. He ended up being 10 lbs 9 oz and my uterus would have ruptured it I had had a VBAC.

I was told not to eat after midnight the night before, even though I wasn't scheduled for the C-section until like 2 or 3. I was told to call the hospital to make sure the could do it at the scheduled time incase they were backed up. I called and they were backed up. I finally got there later and still had to wait for a room like 45 minutes. By the time it was all over and I was back in my room this BEAUTIFUL nurse brought me a bagel with cream cheese and some chicken noodle soup around 11pm. That was the best food I'd ever tasted. lol
My recovery time took longer with the 2nd since I was older and had a new ob/gyn. This time I had to have staples also. I must have did more than I should have (10lbs;9ozkwim) my skin was tearing from the staple. The nurse in the office gave me a hard time because I said it hyrt from her pulling out the staples. She's like "you just gave birth to a huge baby and this hurts?' Well, yeah, I had a spinal then dimwhit. lol

The nurst that preped me before my spinal said she didn't know why they told me not to eat after midnight since my scheduled C-section wasn't in the morning. It would have been nice to have at least had a small breakfast the morning.

Well I am in a similiar situation. I am having my c-section on Tuesday, if all goes as planned. My other two came earlier than anyone expected. I am just a nervous as you are because of a couple of things. First one is that they are doing a spinal versus the epidural. I have had an epidural with my other two but the dr is reccommending a spinal because it is a quicker recovery. He also said that they have profected the spinal to where the needle is not as big and it has made it so that people recover more quickly from it. My other reason about being nervous about this is that we are 45 minutes away from the hopsital and I am afraid to go into labor and not make it to the hospital. My second child was emergency c-section because of several reasons. His heart rate dropped and never recovered when I started pushing. He was also face up, and I am not built to deliver babies that are bigger than 5 pounds. I know that some people can pop out a 10 pounder but others can not. I also have read through some of the advice you have recieved and one mentioned a VBAC. Really look and think about your options. I have heard of two people recently attempting a VBAC that ended up having a c-section. Good luck and I hope you have a safe delivery

I don't know what your story is, but I really encourage you to read more about VBAC. Many doctors still believe that a repeat is safer and the statistics don't support this. The chance of harm to your baby is no greater with a VBAC and the chance of harm to you is actually greater with surgery, not vaginal delivery.

A positive story to consider:
My friend had an "emergency" c-section with no real medical reason except that she'd been pushing for 2 hours and the baby's heart rate dropped just once. She just had her second. It was a VBAC. 6 HOURS of of pushing brought a 9.5lb baby out with NO complications. No hospital recovery, no staying home for a week, no problems driving, no one had to "help" her take care of her toddler for weeks while she couldn't lift her.
I also know a woman who had a 10 pounder VBAC with no complications. Your best bet is finding a supportive doctor or a midwife.

Remember, you don't only have to prepare for the surgery, you also have a much longer recovery time and it gets longer each time you are cut open.

Good Luck with your decision. PM me if you'd like a short list of books with really good information on how safe VBAC is.

I've had two c-sections and I can reassure you the recovery is much easier the second time around. I don't know if it is because I didn't labor for 18 hours first, or because I knew what to expect. I have found that medicine has also advanced during this time. My Ob ordered a "pain ball" for me that delivered medicine right into the incission. My husband and I had planned to have his mother at our house the night before to stay with our oldest (then 2 1/2 years old). He and planned a night for the two of us - we had reserved a room at a hotel near the hospital (the hospital is 45 minutes away from our house and we had to be there at 5 am) so we could spend some "us" time before our newest son arrived. The plans definetly helped ease my jitters.

awww so when did the bundle of joy come!!!! congrat's
also I also wanted to let you know that I work from home.
Im not sure if you need an extra source of income but if you do I can help you. If your interested in learning more go to www.internetceomoms.com/kkortright
I hope you had a great weekend $ congrats again a the new bundle of joy.

I just had my second C-section 10.5 months ago. The second time around was so much easier. My first wasnt a planned section. So I had gone through labor and I think my body didnt recover as fast. Where as with my 2nd it was so much easier. I felt like I could get up and walk around hours after I had my second one. Where as with the first section when they told me I had to get up out of bed I thought there was no way I could do it. I will tell you that the spinal was not bad the only thing that I had was that I threw up after wards when they were moving me from recovery to my room. They then gave me meds for the throwing up and it stopped after that. Also the weird thing was which I wasnt expecting was I walked into the OR where as with my first they had me wheeled in on my bed. Otherwise it was a much better experience the 2nd time around. I was much more aware of everything going on. I even talked to my dr. Where as with my first I was so out of it all I wanted was the baby out of me. So relax everyones situation is different but it should be easier than your first.

Practice deep breathing and do it when you start to get nervous(this helps calm your nerves) also think of how soon you will get to see the baby and how it will all be over with. Also if you would like to be more aware that day let the anesthesiologist know you would like something that does not mess with your head. That you would like to be able to remember the day. Also if you are breastfeeding have them bring the baby right away to breastfeed while you recover. Remember it is also normal to have the shakes after a c-section and it will stop soon. Also here is good sites to know more about c-sections I have had 3 but would do it different if I would had more info. www.ican-online.org and www.vbac.com

Congrats on the new Baby

I had an emergency c-section as well. but i will say one way to prepare is to get plenty of rest. i was in labor for 12 1/2 hours and i didn't rest at all. it was my first baby and everyone was excited about it. but really all i can say is get rest and relax. i was very tensed and i wanted it over with. i don't like the process you go through to have it done. but get plenty of rest.

Hi A., you will do just fine! If there is 1 thing that I can tell you is.......get your rest now and get up and move then! After 3 c-sections, I threw a 6 yr old birthday party for 30 7 days later........decorating, cooking, baking and loading a giant waterslide at the park for the kids to slide down on in the midst of the heat! lol But, dont lose those precious baby moments worrying about the housework or laundry....because all of a sudden, the baby wants to move (crawl) and doesnt want to cuddle as much and gaze into each others eyes! That bonding is quickly set aside for interest in every other direction! Really, lay down and enjoy! God Bless, S.

I just have to say thank you so much for posting this... I'm pregnant with #2 and we're planning a repeat c-section. While I did not go into surgery after already having begun labor, the whole experience the first time around was a nightmare! At 14 weeks, I'm already nervous about it! LOL It's good to read so many moms had positive experiences the second time around.

Thanks! Congrats on your new baby! =o)

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