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Planning Your Cesarean FAQ
This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) article is composed of ideas to make your scheduled cesarean more family centered. For information on the actual procedure, please see the Cesarean FAQ or Family Centered Cesareans. If you have anything to add, or have a question about anything, please feel free to write me.
Here are some options to consider for pain relief before and after your cesarean:
Medications to Relax you for the Birth
These typically make women feel woozy and sometimes nauseated. If you are not particularly emotionally disturbed and there is no medical indication for such medication, you can ask to skip them all together.
Pain Relief for the Surgery
You have a few options here: spinal anesthesia, epidural anesthesia (both regional blocks) or general anesthesia. Epidurals and spinals are the most common form of anesthesia for the cesarean delivery. Typically the epidural is used if it is already in place (for example, need for surgery arises during labor after epidural has been administered). However, in the planned cesarean, many women are opting for the spinal anesthesia. This type of anesthesia can be given more quickly, provide better pain relief (without the risk of windows that can occur with epidurals), and are preferred by a lot of anesthesiologists. General anesthesia is used only in emergency situations and in situation where regional blocks cannot or should not be performed. Talk with the Anesthesia Department before your date of surgery.
Pain Relief After the Surgery
One of the best things my clients have commented on is the use of Duramorph. This is placed through the spinal or epidural catheter, right before it is removed and is generally good pain relief for 16-24 after delivery. While, all medications will be excreted in the breast milk, the Duramorph will come through in less quantities than if you took regular dosages of narcotics at four hour intervals. And, let's be realistic, pain medication is a must for the majority of people who have had abdominal surgery. Other options include: Patient controlled analgesia (PCA), where your IV is attached to a machine that will alert you when you can have more IV medications and you can then take it at will. You have the option of oral pain medications, usually at 4 hour intervals. And, less frequently used, are intramuscular injections.
Making this birth more family centered and less surgical is important to some parents. Here are some tips gathered from varied sources on how to achieve this goal.
- Have your partner with you (Some facilities will allow you to have more than one person.)
- Watch the birth with the use of a mirror
- Play music
- Do a LeBoyer Bath in Recovery
- Have the baby brought to you immediately
- Ask to have one of your hands freed to touch the baby
- Let your partner carry the baby to the warmer
- Ask if your partner can cut the cord
- Take pictures and video
- Ask to have more than one person in Recovery with you
- Nurse the baby in the Recovery Room if you are Breastfeeding
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