Among the medical community, c-sections tend to get a bad rap. There’s this vision of our guts splayed on the table, having no idea what’s happening on the other side of that blue sheet (and why is it always blue?). Then there’s the notion that post c-section recovery is a beast. (Isn’t it always a beast, though?) So, here to dispel the myths around c-sections is Dr. Shieva Ghofrany, an OB-GYN based in Stamford, CT. and founder of community health platform Tribe Called V. We asked Dr. Ghofrany to drop some knowledge around c-sections in the hopes that should you need one, you can be comforted that you, your babe, and your abs will be just fine.
1. The doctor straps down your arms
We do not strap down your arms. Your arms are resting on armrests, mostly because we need to be in a sterile field from your chest down. So we can’t have your arms flailing around, but we don’t strap them down unless you’re under general anesthesia where you’re asleep. That’s all.
2. That we cut across your muscles
We don’t cut across your muscles. You have a diastasis, which is this natural separation of your rectus abdominal muscles when you’re pregnant because that baby has stretched everything out. So we just further stretch it out. Yeah. That part sucks. But we do not cut across your muscles unless it’s a rare circumstance where we are struggling to pull them apart.
3. That we remove your organs
We don’t remove your organs, meaning we do exteriorize your uterus (aka the temporary removal of the uterus from the abdominal cavity.) Not everyone does it, but we exteriorize. After the baby’s out in order to really see the incision well, we exteriorize it but we don’t pull out all your chitlins and bowels like people think.
4. That you’re not going to be able to do skin to skin or delayed cord clamping
We still do delayed cord clamping typically for about a minute in most hospitals (which is considered the proper cord clamping time frame due to the health benefits for your baby), and you can do skin to skin often.
5. That a c-section is harder to recover from
This is actually the myth most important to me because it really depends. You might have a very challenging vaginal birth, like I had with my first. I had to push for three hours and I had a catheter for two days, whereas my c-section was easier. So it just depends. Don’t assume it’s always worse.