It's a c-section!

A panicked mother's guide to the almighty cesarean

Hospital Tips

Here are a few things to help you make the most out of your hospital stay. Remember, the staff is there to help you recover. Don’t feel pressured to spend every moment attending to your newborn. Let the nurse change a diaper and take advantage of the rest while you can so that you are in optimum shape to care for your infant at home.

hospital bag checklist customized for c-section
I created a downloadable checklist (29 KB PDF)
to prepare for the hospital following a c-section.


According to Tiffany Gwartney, an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, one of the first things your nurse will want you to do is walk as soon as your legs regain sensation. This is to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs. My nurse was incredibly eager to get me to walk, and forgot to mention that getting out of the bed would be mind-blowingly painful. Up until this point I have assured you things aren’t as bad as you may have imagined them. That was not to pacify you; up until now that has been true. I don’t mean to scare you, but I you’ve known from the moment you found out you were pregnant that at some point, getting that baby out is going to hurt. My advice: even if you feel fine, don’t start turning down the pain medication until you’ve walked. In fact, try to walk fairly soon after a dose of medication has started to take affect. I will say that the pain got exponentially better even by the end of the first day, once some of the swelling started to go down.


Depending on the situation, if breastfeeding immediately after birth was part of your birth plan, you may still be able to do so in the operating room. If not, you should be able to try when your baby is brought to your recovery room. No matter how much studying you have done, finding the right position for you and your baby (and your new incision) will be a complete guessing game, so don’t hesitate to ask your nurse to help you position your newborn. I found the Boppy Pillow extremely helpful.