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C-section misconceptions

Myths about cesarean births.

Article Author: Juice Staff

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Whether it was part of the plan all along or a necessary step to ensure the health of mom and/or baby, cesarean sections (C-sections) are becoming increasingly common. During a C-section, a doctor delivers the baby through an incision in a woman’s abdomen and uterus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third of all deliveries in the United States are C-sections. As with any surgery, people often have questions about the procedure and may come across some misconceptions in their quest for answers.

Katie Gray, RN, assistant nurse manager of the Maternal/Newborn unit at Baptist Medical Center South, shared the truth behind some common C-section myths.

MYTH: There’s no postpartum bleeding following a C-section.

Gray said that women can expect vaginal bleeding for about six weeks following any delivery, including a C-section.

“It’s going to go from a bright red to pinkish/brownish and then to a normal yellow discharge. After delivery, you’re going to have bleeding that’s more like a medium-to-heavy period, but you should not be passing any clots larger than about an egg shape.”

Women who have clots larger than that should alert their health care team.

MYTH: You will be asleep during the C-section procedure.

According to Gray, most patients receive epidural or spinal pain management (the difference is essentially where the medication is delivered), which allows them to stay awake during the C-section.

“The only time we put our patients to sleep is in true emergency situations or if they’re unable to get comfortable with our normal anesthetic methods.”

MYTH: Once you have a C-section, you will have to have one for every birth going forward.

“Most of our patients receive a low transverse [horizontal] uterine incision, which will enable them to attempt a vaginal delivery for subsequent births, even if their first was a C-section,” Gray said. In rare cases when a different type of incision is used, a patient may be advised not to labor for subsequent births.

MYTH: I won’t be able to have skin-to-skin time with my baby after he or she is born.

According to Gray, as long as both mom and baby are doing well and the little one is full term, skin-to-skin in the surgical suite is A-OK!

MYTH: You will only have a single incision from a C-section.

Because the obstetrician has to remove the baby from the uterus, women who undergo C-sections will have an incision on the abdomen, which you’ll be able to see, in addition to one on the uterus.

When you’re having a baby, you have a lot of questions. Baptist Health is here to help. To learn more about Labor and Delivery services, visit baptistjax.com/baby. For more resources from The Motherhood Space, Baptist Health’s maternal mental wellness program, browse the free video series on YouTube.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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