A Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing for Your Cesarean
Checking into the Hospital
Once you’ve arrived at the hospital, you’ll check in and be shown to your room, where you’ll change into a hospital gown. After you’ve undergone a physical assessment (which includes checking vital signs and reviewing your medical history), you’ll be started on an IV. Your abdomen will be shaved down to the pubic hair and you may be administered an enema. A nurse and an anesthetist will visit with you to review your birth plans, and you will sign a number of consent forms.
When the time comes, a nurse will bring you and your partner to the birthing room. Your partner may or may not be allowed to sit at your side during your operation (this varies from hospital to hospital). If you are able to have your partner present, he will be given hospital scrubs to wear during your surgery. During the operation, it is likely that your partner will be prohibited from videotaping, although still photos may be allowed.
After an anesthetic is administered, you will lie down on an operating table and a catheter will be inserted to drain urine during your C-section and until you can attend to your own bathroom needs. Your doctor or attending nurse will then set up a curtain above your chest to separate you from your surgical team (giving you both some privacy during your operation). Your arms may be secured to keep you from accidentally reaching into the sterile surgical area.
If you have chosen regional anesthesia, the method generally preferred by doctors and hospitals, you’ll be awake during the operation. You won’t feel pain, but if you’ve had an epidural, you will probably feel pressure and pulling throughout the procedure. You should be able to talk to your partner and your doctor during the procedure.
After giving birth, you’ll be allowed to see your baby before your doctor takes her to be tested, measured, and weighed. Your partner may be able to go with your newborn at this time while your surgical team finishes caring for you. For many new moms, this alone time can be hard; be sure to speak with your doctor or attending nurse to see if you can have another support person visit with you at this time, of if your spouse can return to the surgery room while your doctor closes your incision.
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