When You’re Scared of a C-Section

Due to some complications during this pregnancy with my baby's size and a large amount of amniotic fluid (a condition called polyhydramnios), my daughter was staying stubbornly in her favorite position:

Breech. 

While I tried desperately to turn my baby into the head-down position, my doctor did her best to prepare me for what may be the inevitable birthing option for me:

My first-ever c-section. 

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Image via Flickr/ Tammra McCauley

I have to be honest with you: I've worked almost four years in labor and delivery and have given birth to three children of my own, but the thought of a c-section fills me with absolute panic. 

Not because I am stuck on some kind of idea of what birth is “supposed to be” or even because I'm an all natural-birth guru (loved my epidural, in fact), but simply because the idea was so foreign to me. I've never had any sort of surgery in my life, and kicking things off with a major abdominal surgery that I would (gulp) be awake for didn't really seem like easing in to the surgical scene. 

I know the ins and out of the c-section process, from the surgical prep to the point where, as the nurse, I would hold my sterile arms open wide for the doctor to hand the baby to me. But let's be honest—being the nurse in a c-section is entirely different than being the mother receiving one. 

Why am I so afraid of a c-section?

Well, there are risks to a c-section, of course, and the recovery can be more difficult, especially if, like me, you have other young children at home. And then there's the fact that it can complicate future births, as well, as not all doctors support VBACs, and the uterus itself can be weakened through the surgery. 

{ MORE: Birth Consultants: What Are They and Why Do You Need One }

But when it comes right down to it, I suspect my fear over a c-section birth is just good old-fashioned fear of the unknown: I'm afraid of what I haven't done before. 

Overcoming fear

Some kind of anxiety and fear is perfectly normal with a c-section, but you definitely don't want your fear of the big day to ruin your little one's birthday. To combat your fear, do your best to arm yourself with as much knowledge and information as you can for the day of your surgery. Set up a special appointment with your doctor to discuss your fears, stop in at the hospital for a tour of the surgical suites, and familiarize yourself with the OR and waiting room (for your partner). Most hospitals will have you come in a day or two in advance to receive some pre-surgery education, so take advantage of that time to ask the knowledge staff as well—the nurses will want to help you alleviate your fears. 

Talk to other moms

And lastly (and what helped me the most), reach out to some mothers who have undergone c-sections in the past. I was surprised to hear how many mothers actually had very positive c-section birth experiences, like my friend Jenny, who commented that her daughter was breech and “my experience with a c-section was wonderful!”

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Or check out EverydayFamily's very own Devan, who wrote about her positive first-time c-section experience here. “I loved my c-section and, for my personal circumstances, would take another c-section over a surgical vaginal birth any day,” she writes. 

The most important thing you can do to alleviate your fear is to understand that no doctor would choose a c-section for a patient lightly. Understanding that you are doing the very best thing for you and your baby is the first step towards a positive birth experience, so face your big day with a smile on your face because you are starting off motherhood right!

How did you prepare for your c-section?

What do you think?

When You’re Scared of a C-Section

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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5 comments

  1. Nicole says:

    My second pregnancy was twins. The first was born natural. The second was breech and the Dr tried to turn him but only ended up pushing him all the way back up under my ribcage. They put me under and did a emergency t-section. She made the cross cut but still couldn’t reach him so had to do the up cut also. I recovered fairly quickly and easily. According to them because I got up and walked so much. My babies were in the nicu and I went to check on them often. Now, 14 years and new husband later we’ve been blessed with a surprise pregnancy. Which I suspect is another set of twins. Because of the way my c-section was done, they told me at my first visit that I would have to have another c-section. I didn’t have time to be nervous about the first one but I’m terrified of this one.

  2. Wendy says:

    I’ve had 2 C-sections so far. The first one, I was overdue, the amniotic fluid was almost completely dissolved, and my son was growing too big. I was 41 weeks, my water never broke, I never dilated enough and never went into labor. It was an easy recovery. The pain is bad at first but after the 6th week it gets better. I had a second C-section because of almost the same reason as the first…it was time and nothing was progressing such as water breaking, dilating, labor. But my boys are here and they’re healthy, and I would do it again without hesitation.

  3. Lourdes says:

    I’ve had four c sections in 5 years. My first one was an emergency, my second was 14 months later so I chose a repeat c section. I had no choice with my next 2. I was in some pain with all my recoveries of course but overall I really enjoy the whole process of it all.

  4. Nicole says:

    I really did not have time to be afraid of a c-section. My baby and I went into distress during labor due to the baby contracting an infection. The doctor gave me the choice, but I knew something was wrong, and they had to move quickly. I didn’t care HOW I had my baby, as long as it was born safe and healthy. Well, the healthy part took nearly 4 weeks in the NICU for him to overcome the infection, but he is a big, healthy, happy boy now.

  5. Lauren says:

    I had to have all my children via C-section due to my first child being born at 25 weeks gestation she was only 1lb 8oz but made it through.. After getting pregnant again and being cut the classical way (straight up and down, belly button to groin) there was no way I could ever give natural child birth… I do sometimes feel sad about never being able to experience natural childbirth but as long as me and especially my babies came out safe and sound I am happy to sacrifice doing it all natural… I didn’t find the recovery too bad either just the unsightly scar that comes along with the surgery is a little bummer but it reminds me and my kids of their special births!!

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