Most people understand that a cesarean section or c-section is major surgery. They also understand that there are risks associated with this surgery, even though it is also a birth. The good news is that with a bit of planning, when possible, or questions if the subject comes up in labor, you can reduce some of the associated risks of having a baby via planned cesarean section or unplanned c-section.
- For a planned cesarean, wash your body before giving birth.
Special soaps can be used by you at home for the few days prior to having your surgery. This soap is antibacterial and can reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin incision area, meaning you have a lower risk of infection after surgery, which is one of the most common risks associated with a cesarean.
- Stay warm.
Getting cold either before or during surgery can increase the likelihood of infection. When you're waiting for your surgery or during your surgery, ask for warm blankets as most operating rooms are ice cold.
- Use clippers, not razors.
One of the steps in preparing for a cesarean is to shave the hair near where the incision will be. This has been done with a razor in the past, but now it is shown that using clippers removes enough hair and yet lowers the infection rate compared to shaving.
- Minimize catheter use.
A catheter is standard during and just after surgery. But as soon as you think you're able to use a bed pan or get up to go to the bathroom, even with assistance do it. The sooner you get your catheter out the faster you will walk, which aids healing, but it also reduces your risk of infection from the catheter. Though be sure that you can actually go to the bathroom or walk, because if you can't, a reapplication of the catheter is not only not high on many women's list of things to do but also increase the risk of infection.
- Walk soon after surgery.
The sooner that you can get up and move around, the better off you will be in the healing department. You will decrease the risk of blood clots, not to mention simply feel better.
- Do your wound care.
Follow instructions on how to care for your incision. This may vary depending on if you have staples, steri-strips or another type of closure. But watching for signs of infection and following your care schedule can help you prevent infection or at least recognize it early.
- Wait until labor starts or at least 39 weeks.
Evidence shows us that babies born by scheduled c-section who are thought to be term, often have more trouble with not being term. The new recommendation is to wait until at least 39 weeks to schedule a birth or until labor starts on its own.