We hope you have enjoyed the 5 part series on the topic of cesarian deliveries. If you missed out on the last one called “Ok C-Section moms, what’s the big deal?” you should definitely catch up, it is worth the read:)! Below is the final post in our 5 part series, thank you so much Catherine for writing for us, we have learned a lot!
Being pregnant and delivering a baby comes with a lot of questions and new experiences. Some are tales some are true. Here are the top questions we get at www.cpanty.com. Most are c-section related but not all!
During a c-section to they really take my uterus out?!
Ouch that almost sounds worse than it is…and it’s bad enough! First “taking the uterus out” does not mean removing the uterus and not putting it back. But yes, the uterus is what is commonly called exteriorized or brought outside the body. “What?!”, you say, “take the whole thing out?” Yup, the whole thing and the fallopian tubes as well since they are attached.
There are two good reasons for having the uterus outside the body. The amazing uterus is contracting whether the delivery is by cesarean or not. You can imagine trying to sew a moving object in a paper bag without seeing it would be a challenge. The same is true for a contracting and shrinking uterus inside the abdominal cavity. Being able to see the incision in the uterus and sew it closed while seeing it is preferred by many surgeons. One other good reason is to examine the uterus and fallopian tubes. The physician can do a visual inspection of the uterus to make sure the surgical technique was perfect as well as to do a quick visual exam of any other problems. Call it the most thorough Ob/Gyn exam you’ll ever get!
So, that sore tummy after your c-section? Not so much from pushing if you pushed before delivery or from weak abdominals. It is largely from the disruption, aka separation, movement and handling of the tissues between the uterus and abdomen during surgery. The soreness and recovery curve in the area can last a bit, getting better daily but still recovering for up to 3 months. So, speaking of tissue disruption, on to question #2.
Do they really go through 7 tissue layers during a c-section?
Yes, they do…depending on how you count! The seven “layers” are the skin, fat (don’t remind me!), rectus sheath (fancy word for the coating over the abs), the rectus (abs, which are split along the grain so somewhat more separated than cut apart), the parietal peritoneum (first layer surrounding the organs), the loose peritoneum and then the uterus, which is a very thick muscular layer.
So, again, sore in the belly? Feeling bad you don’t feel back to normal in three weeks? Lots of work went on in there. Tissue healing is aggressive for three months but persists actively for 6 months and then slowly for up to a year. Rest when you need it, get permission for heavy activities and enjoy baby while giving yourself a mental break for not feeling like a million bucks everyday.
Is it true your uterus increases 500x during pregnancy?
Lets just start with the uterus expands a lot! As far as the 500%, it depends on what the 500x means. Think back to high school math with length vs area vs volume. In general, the uterus is about 6cm x 5cm x 2cm and when at full term it is 30cm x 23cm x 22cm. So for length, it increases 5x, for area, it increases about 250x (that is the L x W x H answer). For volume, however, if you consider the uterus as a sphere (4/3 pi r3 anyone?), it increases about 500x. (Brookside’s Obstetric and Newborn Care, Emedicine.com)
Another chance to forgive yourself, stretch anything 500x and think how fast it’ll go back. I cant think of anything except silly putty that would do that! No more hard knocks for less than flat abs right away!
Why do I still bleed vaginally if I had a c-section?
The uterus still has remaining vascular activity after delivery. Once the incision is closed up, the only way for remaining blood and discharge to get out is the old fashioned natural way, through the vaginal opening. Just a word of caution, bleeding may be a little inconsistent, but if it is increasing over time (whether you had vaginal or cesarean delivery), see your doctor.
At least I wont #2, right? Does everyone really poop during labor?
Ok, finally something that c-section moms get the better deal on! No pooping during delivery. (For those of you that pushed, pooped, then c’d, two jewels in your crown!) Not that it is that bad, but lets face it, most of us rather have a constitutional in private. We surveyed 5 obs/delivery nurses. Some of the answers…
“90%”, “I stopped noticing by the time I was a resident” and our favorite “They lied when they said you didn’t poop”. Bottom line, they don’t care so moms shouldn’t either!
This is the last in the installment of blogs for Mom 4 Life from C-Panty, The After Cesarean Underwear. We are proud to be part of the Mom 4 Life community and are grateful for the opportunity to spread our mission of providing great c-section and post-partum recovery products while also working to educate and empower moms. Thanks for listening in!
Warm regards, Catherine Brooks OTR, MPH
M. Meunier MD,
C-Panty CEO and Consultant: 18 years of experience in post-surgical rehabilitation in New York City and San Diego and five even more challenging and exciting years of experience as a mom of a three. (All by cesarean, of course!)