As a c-section mom, I heard lots of questions surrounding c-section deliveries from nervous moms as I was. And here, I wanted to share our top 5 c-section related questions, and my Japanese doctor diligently answered.
1. DURING A C-SECTION, DO THEY REALLY TAKE OUT YOUR UTERUS?
Yes, the uterus is commonly called “extemporized,” or brought outside the body during a c-section delivery.
“What?!!” Are you serious, you say, “take the whole thing out?”.
You got it. The doctor takes out the entire uterus and the Fallopian tubes since they are attached. There are two good reasons for having the uterus outside the body during a c-section. The uterus is contracting whether the delivery is via a c-section or not.
Can you imagine how challenging it would be to try to sew a moving object in a paper bag without seeing it? Well, the same is true for a contracting and shrinking uterus inside the abdominal cavity. Seeing the incision in the uterus and sew it closed while seeing many surgeons prefer it.
Another good reason to remove the uterus is so that the doctor can examine the uterus and Fallopian tubes. The physician can do a visual inspection to ensure the surgical technique was perfect and do a quick visual of any other problems. Think of it as the most thorough OB/GYN exam you will ever receive!
So that sore tummy after your c-section? Not so much from pushing if you pushed before delivery or from weak abdominal. The tenderness is from the disruption, aka separation, movement, and handling of the tissues between the uterus and abdomen during surgery.
The soreness and recovery curve can last awhile, you will feel a little less sore every day, but recovery can take up to 3 months.
2. DO THEY REALLY CUT THROUGH SEVEN LAYERS OF TISSUE DURING A C-SECTION?
The seven layers are the skin, fat, rectus sheath (the medical term for the coating outside the abs), the rectus (abs, which are split along the grain somewhat more than cut), the parietal peritoneum (the first layer surrounding the organs), the loose peritoneum and then the uterus, which is a very thick muscular layer.
So again, sore in the belly after a c-section? Feeling discouraged, you don’t feel back to normal in three weeks? Remember, lots of work went on in there.
Tissue healing is aggressive for three months but continues for 6 months to a year. Rest when you need it, get permission from your doctor for heavy physical activities and enjoy baby while giving yourself a mental break for not feeling like a million bucks right away.
3. AM I THE ONLY ONE HAVING A C-SECTION?
Absolutely not. C-section deliveries are actually the most common surgery in all countries, especially in the United States, as being surveyed.
4. IS IT TRUE YOUR UTERUS INCREASES 500% IN SIZE DURING PREGNANCY?
Let’s start with the uterus expands a lot! As far as 500%, it depends on what the 500% means. Think back to high school math with length vs. area vs. volume. In general, the uterus is about 6cm x 5cm x 2cm and when at full term it is 30cm x 23cm x 22cm. So for length, it increases 5x. For area, it increases about 250x (that is the L x W x H answer).
However, for volume, if you consider the uterus as a sphere, it increases about 500 times in size (Brookside’s Obstetric & Newborn Care, Emedicine.com).
Stretch anything 500 times and think how fast it will go back? I can’t think of anything except maybe silly putty that would do that, so give yourself a break and time to recover.
5. WHY DO I STILL BLEED VAGINALLY IF I HAD A C-SECTION?
The uterus still has a remaining vascular activity after delivery. Once the incision is closed up, the only way for remaining blood and discharge to get out is the old-fashioned natural way, through the vaginal opening.
Just a word of caution, bleeding may be a little inconsistent, but if it increases over time (whether you had a vaginal or cesarean delivery), see your doctor.
6. AT LEAST I WON’T GO #2 ON THE TABLE, RIGHT? DOES EVERYONE REALLY POOP DURING LABOR?
Finally, something c-section moms get the better deal on! No pooping during delivery. And for non-c-section moms, don’t worry if this did happen to you. It is surveyed Obs and delivery nurses, and they said it was no big deal, and they stopped noticing during residency. The bottom line, they don’t care, so moms shouldn’t either.