What's it like to have a C-section?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
What's it like to have a C-section?
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 2:20pm
I will have to have a schedule c-section due to my baby getting too big. This is my second child. My first was delivered vaginal at 8.5 lbs. But was assisted w/ vacumm. This time i'm 35 weeks and the baby is already 7 lbs and i'm due to be induced no later then week 38. So needless to say -- there's no way i'm pushing this kid out. :)

I was just wondering what it was like to have a c-section. I hear the recovery time is 2 weeks longer then vaginal. But lately i read alot of women who have had c-sections saying they are on their feet right away and it didn't hurt that much.

Anyone can share their story or insight would be appriciated.

Thank you.

Angel 4/28


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Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 2:48pm
Hi, I had a c-section on January 1. The surgery itself was painless and fast. It did take me about two weeks afterward to feel like myself again. It is harder to breast feed and to carry baby around, especially getting up and down out of chairs with large baby (mine was 9lbs. 15oz). As for recovery, I think it depends on you and your level of fitness, age, etc. It took me 2 weeks, but a girl I know that had it the same day as me was feeling great the next day. She is 20 something and fit, I am 30 something and less fit. Generally though I guess it must take people a little longer because they give 8 weeks recovery time off work for c-section versus 6 weeks for vaginal delivery.
Avatar for jody_smile_eeyore
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 9:32pm
Hi Angel,

My name is Jody and I had a c-section after 50 hours of labor with my DD (Zoe) two and a half years ago. Turned out she was 10 lbs. 8 oz and almost 23 inches! I think she was NEVER coming out, even with the petossin and pushing, she never came down! Just 4 days prior to her birth, an ultrasound said she was 8 lbs. 11 oz. max!

The actual c-section was hard, after having labored that long and throwing up the entire procedure(sorry), the pressure of pulling baby out makes you feel VERY short of breath. I was totally exhausted and had a pretty hard time of it the first couple of days but I think that was mostly due to the fact that I'd already labored for so long and I had a newborn to contend with!

The pain didn't last that long and I agree that the most painful times were standing-up and sitting-down or getting in and out of bed. My husband was a god-send and I would've had a much harder time of w/out him. I always tell people that the upside is that you don't have to sit on your wounds! :-)

The incision is much bigger than I thought (pretty much hip-to-hip) but it shrinks as it heals. It must not have been that bad because I'm having a repeat c-section on April Fool's (Tuesday!)and I've been told by 2 friends that it's much easier when it's planned ahead because you can sleep, prepare, shower and rest-up before the procedure. I like the fact that I know when he's coming and the only thing that can happen is that it'll be sooner!

Sorry this was so long... Good Luck Hun!

Jody(32) DH Cory(33) DD Zoe(2.5) and Baby Christopher(4-1-03)

P.S. If it matters to you, going to the bathroom and having sex are much easier with a c-section than vaginal birth. At least that's what it sounds like from my friends who had vaginal births! :-)

Edited 3/28/2003 10:36:38 PM ET by jody_smile.eeyore

Wife to Cory: 9/16/95

RossLake1-1.jpg picture by jodyd

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 11:19pm
HI there,

I had a C-Section 8 months ago and my experience was similar to Jody's (I believe reply #3). I had 25 hours of labor, which I think makes the C-Section recovery much more difficult. You are so exhausted from laboring that the recovery takes longer than it normally would with a planned Section. My baby girl was 9lbs 14 oz ... very unexpected as the Dr's thought she was about 7.5 lbs!! Boy were they wrong. My next baby willb e a planned SEction and Iwill be interested to compare how I feel from the first time to the second, to see how much of my pain was due to the laboring/pushing.

The surgery itself is of course painless, you are completely numb. However, the one thing I didn't notice anyone say is how long the recovery takes. "Recovery" is a subjective word. For example, yes, you will be able to walk around and bend, etc. quite normally after a few weeks, however, 8 months later I still have discomfort in the lower abdominal area. Once the cut the nerves, it can takes months, years, or never for the feeling to come back and once it does it's a tingly type feeling at first. The discomfort I have from my C-Section is very minor, and does not require tylenol or anything, but I do notice it. I was told by the Dr. that it could feel this way for a very long time after the C-Section. I would describe the discomfort as mostly mild tenderness.

Don't worry however, any really bad pain that you encounter after the C-Section will be controlled by medication. My best advice would be to line up some help for household things, like cooking and laundry. It will be difficult to even lift your baby for a week or two, so doing things like laundry and cooking are going to be very difficult. Oh, and unlike the other person's reply, my scar is quite small and is below the bikini line so no one but you and your DH will notice it. Also, it will help to have realistic expectations, you aren't going to feel up to par 8 weeks after having your baby, that's just a ball park. It will be months before you begin to feel "normal" again.

Best of luck to you, I hope none of this scared you. Congratulations on your upcoming birth!


Avatar for cl_kellybethinca
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 11:33am
Hi Angel!

I can't explain the differences in that I've only had c-sections, but from what I'm told, a c-section can be a longer recovery because it is surgery. You should expect to have lots of help afterward around the house, and should remember to take care of your recovery as well as the new baby. Overall, the actual surgery is not painful during, but dealing with an incision afterward can be tricky.

They say every birth is different, so I wish you a better delivery this time around and hope you do not have to have a c-section. Good luck!


Avatar for baby_stinkbug
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 12:16pm
My first birth was via c/s. I was up and walking fairly quickly and didn't take any pain meds after the spinal wore off. *However* it still hurt a fair amount. The drive home from the hospital was painful and nursing was difficult (I hadn't mastered side-lying nursing, and getting up to nurse every 2 hours during the night wasn't easy- it was painful!)

Overall, I think I had a good recovery, and much easier than others I've heard of (no infections, able to walk somewhat comfortably), but it still definitely hindered my movement for quite a while. Definitely get up and walk as soon as you're able, but don't overdo it. I think the sooner you are able to walk, the easier your recovery might be in the long run.

I had a vbac the second time with some major tearing/stitching, but the recovery from that was still a *lot* better than that of my c/s. After all, C/S is major abdominal surgery.

I'm sure you've looked into your options (and feel free to ignore me- not trying to offend!), but I wanted to point out that squatting can open your pelvis up to 20% more during birth -allowing you to deliver bigger babies. If you labored and delivered on your back last time, moving around during labor and using an upright position to deliver can make a *huge* difference in delivering a larger baby. And u/s can be off by up to a lb or more towards the end of pregnancy. Course, that can be *either* way ;) just adding that b/c in your post you mentioned both being induced @ 38wk and saying you had a planned c/s for this one, so I'm not clear on which it is ;)

So overall, my recovery wasn't bad at all, considering what I was recovering from (the surgery was another story though- not going through that again if I can help it), but it was still worse than my vaginal delivery recovery (over 4hr @ 9cm, 15in head that didn't mold and a compound presentation causing two major tears and one minor one-- so also not a piece of cake)

Good luck! either way you'll hopefully be holding your healthy little baby within a matter of weeks ;)


dakotah 8/00 c/s fetal distress 6lb 9oz

dallas 3/02 unmed vbac 9lb 9oz

edd 9/3 (planning for another vbac but hopefully NOT a 12lb 9oz baby-lol!)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 6:55am
I wanted to throw in my two cents on this one. It really just reinforces that every birth is different!

I had my first baby via c/s after 16+ hours of labor and two hours of pushing. At 10 lbs 9 oz, she just wasn't coming out the door. Had to open the window.

Now - I had some Nazi night nurse who made me get up and walk around the nurse's station if I woke up in the middle of the night. I will tell you that sometimes I got some stabbing pains doing that, but other times it went fine and I cruised around there 10 times without any pain. Slow, but not painful. I think it had more to do with when the pain meds wore off than anything else.

My scar is not that big, maybe 6 inches, and it's below the bikini line so no one who shouldn't see it would. ;o)

After maybe 3 months or so (I don't remember exactly), I was totally back to normal. I didn't have any lingering soreness or tenderness at all. Mostly just itchiness from the incision healing, but that didn't last too long either, of course.

I have heard that having a planned CS is *so much* easier on your body and recovery than going thru labor and then a CS. Just a world of difference.

That's my story, Reader's Digest version. Good luck to you!


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Thu, 04-03-2003 - 7:11am
Good Morning..

I have had 2 c-sections myself The first an emergency one that i did not want.. But after that I am so pro c-sections.. I am not by any means fit or anything but i had a very short recovery. The sugery itself was ok. .the only thing you can feel is some tugging or pushing as they try to get the baby out. The only other uncomfortable part was trying to cough while i still had the staples in. it wasn't that bad but still.. I also found that if you sit too long you get stiff. So I found i had to walk around a bit and then sit.. I did ahve help the first couple of days with the lifting when i got home. My second c-section was even easier.. All the nerve ending were already dead so there wasn't much pain. Just a little while the staples were in but after that nadda.. I really was nervous the first time when they took the staples out.. I didn't know how it would feel.. But you can't feel anything.. maybe a little tugging..

Good luck with yours.. I'm sure you'll be fine..

Avatar for dawniellel
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 9:05am
I'm a two c/s veteran - I've never had a vaginal birth so I defintely can't compare which is a longer or more difficult recovery. The surgery itself wasn't bad - I had an epi with my first and a spinal with my 2nd - didn't feel anything except the pulling and tugging when they brought the baby out. It wasn't painful, just knew they were doing it. During my first c/s I started to feel like someone was sitting on my chest & was having trouble breathing - I told the anesthesiologist who did something and I immediately felt better. That was the only thing that made me nervous or scared during either surgery. Recovery from my first c/s seemed easier than recovery from my 2nd, which is opposite of what most people told me. It just seemed like I had more pain after the second one, especially late in the day. Best advice I can give you - get someone to help you out at home the first few weeks, especially because you won't be allowed to lift your older child. Also, TAKE THE PAIN MEDS!!! You will probably be sent home with both motrin and a narcotic-based pain med (I had percocets the first time, vicodin the second). If you take them as directed, you will NOT get addicted, as many people fear. People get addicted when they take more than what the doctor prescribes. For the first week or so after surgery, taking them on a regular schedule will help manage and prevent pain. If you wait until you are in agony and then decide you need one, it's not likely to help much. I found that after the first week I didn't need them much anymore. Was sent home with a month's supply both times, and ended up flushing most of the bottle down the toilet.

Good luck! Dawnielle 3rd c/s in July
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Registered: 03-30-2003
Sun, 04-06-2003 - 1:17pm
Heres my story. I had a c section 5 months ago with my baby boy who was breech. I was booked in the night before, to enable me to get some rest (as if that would happen in hospital, I was a nervous wreck!!), I was due to go down to the delivery theatre at 10.30am, but because of 2 emergencies I didn't go down until 1.15pm, what the weirdest thing was, that I walked down in my gown.

I think the hardest thing for me was knowing that the spinal may not work (as I have had back surgery 6 years ago), it took 2 goes, but all I felt was stinging, then my legs went completely numb. They do various tests to see if you're numb, like a freezing cold water test and pinching the skin, the only thing I remember straight after the spinal went in was I felt a little sick. The next thing, my DH was telling me it was a boy (10/25/02). Then you don't notice anything after as you're sooo emotional.

I was up and showered 36 hours later, just make sure if you cough or sneeze you hold a pillow to you stomouch.

The thing that really upset me was not being able to sleep in my normal (recovery) position for nearly 2 weeks.

Good luck, we're planning our 2nd child in the next year and I will definitely opt for another.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Mon, 04-07-2003 - 11:13pm
My C-section was planned, which I've heard is easier than an emergency one following hours of labor. The actually surgery is no big deal, however there is some recovery time afterwards. You use your stomach muscles to do just about everything - sitting up, laying down, sneezing, going to the bathroom, laughing, etc. - so expect to have help after the surgery. My husband was fantastic - I guarantee I wouldn't have done as well without him.

What amazed me is how quickly I improved while in the hospital. Hours after the surgery, I thought I'd never walk again, but by the time I was ready to take my daughter home, I walked part of the way out of the hospital (until the nurse made me get in the wheelchair - hospital rules). Every morning in the hospital, I felt 100% better than the morning before. My 10 year old cousin visited me (well, she was really there to see the cute baby) every day. On day two, she said I looked "so much better than yesterday" - then when she saw me a week later she told me I looked "really good" and that in the hospital I had "looked like I was going to die" - out of the mouths of children :)

You definitely need help around the house following a C-section. You will be sore. And I believe what they say is true - If you'll take it easy for a couple of weeks, you'll heal much quicker and better. Really do try to sleep when the baby sleeps. Rest is the best way to heal following a surgery.

Hope this helps!

~ J