Before delivery

Cesarean sections are performed in the operating rooms (OR) on Labor and Delivery.

You should plan to arrive 2 hours prior to your scheduled surgery. Please remember not to have anything to eat or drink after midnight. Remember to shower before coming to the hospital as it might be 1-2 days before you are able to shower after delivery. Do not bring any valuables or luggage to the hospital initially. Your partner can get them once you get to your postpartum room.

Upon arrival, you will be admitted to a labor and delivery room. In the 2 hours before your cesarean, the labor and delivery nurse will place an IV, draw blood and monitor your baby’s heart rate. The nurse anesthetist and anesthesiologist will ask about your medical history and discuss anesthesia for your surgery. You will meet the other members of the operative team, including nurses, obstetrics and gynecology residents and nurse practitioners. Your doctor will review the operative consent with you and answer any questions that you may have. Your family can accompany you during this preparation and your partner/birth companion will be given a set of scrubs to change into for the operating room

The labor and delivery team will walk with you to the operating room. One person, whomever you choose, may accompany you to the OR. Once in the OR, a spinal anesthetic will be placed by the anesthesiologist in your lower back. You will then lay down on the table and a foley catheter will be placed to drain your bladder. A blue drape will be placed to create a sterile field and will prevent you from seeing the surgery. After the baby is born, your partner can go to the warmer as the pediatric team cares for your baby. After the baby has been assessed, the nurses will bring the baby to you. Because the OR is maintained at a temperature too cool for the baby, the nurse and your partner will take your baby to the nursery to be weighed, measured and examined. At the completion of your surgery, you will be moved to the recover room for the next 1 to 2 hours. Usually, by the time your surgery is complete and you are settled in the recovery room, your baby will be ready to come and be with you. If desired, you will be able to start breastfeeding in the recovery room. Because we live at a high altitude, some babies may require oxygen for a few hours to help them transition to a life outside of you.

In hospital postpartum recovery

After your post-operative recovery, you will move with your family to your postpartum rooms for the remainder of your hospital stay. The postoperative recovery is typically 3 nights. You will be able to walk and have your catheter removed by the first day after your delivery. If you are not nauseated, you can eat a small meal the day of your cesarean section. The postpartum nurses and a lactation nurse are available to assist you with breastfeeding.

Postpartum Expectations

The typical postoperative recovery is 3 days in the hospital. However, it will take several weeks to recovery from your surgery after hospital discharge.

In general, try to eat a well balanced diet. Plan to continue your prenatal vitamins if you are breastfeeding. Keep your incision clean and dry. You may shower and use a gentle body cleanser; however you do not need to “scrub” your incision. Pat dry the incision after showering. You can place a gauze pad over the incision to keep your undergarments clean if desired. You do not need to place any ointment on the incision. Until your postoperative visit, do not lift any items heavier than ten pounds and refrain from sexual intercourse. Try to increase your physical activity daily with frequent walks. You may drive in 2-3 weeks. You need to be able to safely apply the brakes in your car without guarding your abdomen due to belly pain. A good test to see if you are ready to drive is to stand on a step and jump off of it and land on two feet. If it is painful, then you are not quite ready to drive yet.

It is common to have postpartum baby blues, which typically occur in the week just after delivery and resolve within a few weeks. If you feel your symptoms are lasting longer than 1-3 weeks, are moderate to severe, or you are unable to care for yourself or your baby, please call our office. Examples of moderate to severe postpartum symptoms include daily feelings of depression, constant crying, the inability to shower/care for yourself, the inability to care for your baby, inability to get out of bed, thoughts of harming yourself or your family.

If you needed colace (a stool softener) during pregnancy, continue it during the postpartum/post-operative time period. If you have constipation after surgery, you can try milk of magnesia or miralax, as directed on the package.

Please call the office with fevers (temperature > 100.4)/chills/flu-like symptoms/concerns about your incision (such as redness or swelling)/depression or any other concerns.

The routine postpartum visit with your physician is at 6 weeks. Please call our office to make an appointment after you deliver.