Apart from the general health and well-being of the unborn, a couple's primary worry during pregnancy is the manner of delivery. While the majority prefer vaginal delivery, some prefer caesarean section. Everyone has their own choices and preferences, as well as their own justifications for those choices and preferences.
Doctors explain specific criteria, contraindications, guidelines, and protocols to facilitate mode of delivery selection. The delivery method that is most beneficial to the mother and child is chosen, and appropriate counselling is provided.
“In current days of increased average gestational age, increased mother BMI, and sedentary lifestyles, problems to safe delivery are to be expected. However, as specialist anaesthesia services have become more generally available, caesarean sections have increased in popularity, as they result in a better pregnancy outcome even in difficult situations,” Dr. Anu Joseph, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Specialist in High-risk Pregnancy & Fetal Medicine, Kauvery Hospital, Electronic City, Bangalore who answers few queries on caesarean delivery sharing few tips for faster recovery.
What To Expect?
Caesareans are performed as a planned mode of delivery for many women due to pre-existing reasons such as previous uterine surgery, incompatible infant position, numerous pregnancies, and babies larger than the birth canal. In such circumstances, the doctor counsels the couple about the surgery well in advance.
However, for some a planned vaginal delivery gets converted to an emergency lower (uterine) segment Caesarean section (LSCS) due to a variety of reasons, such as insufficient advancement of the birth canal opening or insufficient progress of the baby's descent into the birth canal. Other factors, including as variations in the foetal heart rate (foetal distress), bleeding, or preterm symptoms, may also warrant an emergency LSCS.
What Happens Before The Procedure?
Prior to the procedure, the patient is taken to the operating room, where anaesthetists explain the process. In general, spinal anaesthesia is selected because it involves an injection of numbing drugs in the back and numbing the abdomen and legs. It is often a somewhat uncomfortable operation that takes only a few minutes to complete. Expect tingling, numbness, and a sense of heaviness in the lower limbs for around 4-5 hours. The woman can remain awake and expect to view the baby immediately following delivery with this type of anaesthetic. Depending on their health status, some women may require general anaesthesia.
What Happens Post- Procedure?
Following the procedure, the patient is typically advised to remain under observation for a period of hours, depending on pre-existing conditions and procedural risks. After that, the patient is returned to the room.
Post-operative recovery is typically painless, aided by early mobilisation, pain medication, and diet. Pain is frequently felt once the anaesthetic is withdrawn. However, during the early postoperative time, your doctor would have encouraged you to take drugs to help you feel better if necessary.
Each day is deemed to be more favourable than the preceding one in terms of post-surgical recovery. The superficial wound will heal in approximately 5-10 days. However, complete recovery takes approximately 5-6 weeks. Women are encouraged to avoid straining the abdominal wound during this time, refrain from heavy activities, and support the wound site during coughing or sneezing.
The following are few tips to foster faster and better healing:
• Pre-pregnancy health: proper diet, water intake, exercise and weight management make a great impact in post- delivery recovery. All nutritional and vitamin supplements prescribed are to be taken diligently and tests that are advised are to be done.
• Control of co-existing illnesses: in case of pre-existing issues like diabetes, low haemoglobin, infection etc, the doctor’s instructions are to be followed strictly, and make sure that the issues are corrected.
• Take medications on time and correctly.
• Exercise: once you are cleared to move about, do make sure that you follow the basic exercises that are recommended by the physio. Restricted movements after surgery delays recovery. At various stages of recovery, a physiotherapist can help you understand and practice the exercises that’s deemed fit for you.
• Adequate sleep and rest: the days post-delivery are filled with breastfeeding routines, medications, discomfort, visitors, phone calls etc. It is of great importance that the mother gets adequate time to rest and sleep.
• Nutrition and hydration: to begin with, the diet must be light and soft without strong spices and oil. As the mother recovers, the dietary changes can be adjusted as per the prevailing family diet patterns. Adequate hydration is important and restricted water intake is a definite taboo.
• Comfortable breastfeeding habits: initiation and continuation of breastfeeding can sometimes run into difficulties. However, it is important to seek help from a breastfeeding counsellor if need be. Finding a comfortable feeding posture also is equally important to ensure a stress-free feeding routine. Take time to be with and bond with your baby
• Hygiene: in some societies, women are restricted from showering post-delivery, probably due to fear of disturbing the wound or other mis concepts. However, it is recommended that women take shower daily. Also make sure the sanitary pads are changed periodically. Breast care is also equally important. In case of any difficulties, review with your treating consultant.
• Relaxation techniques: each person has their own ways of relaxation, listening to calming music, breathing exercises, reading books etc. One can practice what one prefers immediately post-delivery.
Also Read: Learn About Cesarean: Risks Involved & When To Plan The Next Pregnancy?