Pack These 10 Essential Items for Your C-Section

June 24, 2021

If you’re scheduled to have a C-section, it’s important to be prepared for what to expect during the surgery and recovery, along with what you should take to the hospital. 

But how does your doctor decide that you need a C-section? The health of mother and baby are the key driver when considering a scheduled C-section. If you’ve had two or more C-sections, your doctor likely will recommend that you give birth via C-section again. 

Some other common reasons your doctor might recommend a C-section instead of vaginal birth include:

  • Malpresentation, when any part of the baby closest to the birth canal is not the head.

  • Placenta previa, where the placenta has grown over the cervical opening.

  • Fetal weight, estimated above 4,500 grams if the mother is diabetic, or above 5,000 grams if she is not.

  • Twins, especially if both babies are not facing head-down.

  • Labor complications during vaginal birth, such as fetal distress or prolonged labor, also may necessitate a C-section. 

Planning for a Scheduled C-section 

Once you’ve scheduled your C-section, day-before preparation includes: 

  •  Fasting from food after midnight, or a light meal (such as crackers or toast) up to six hours before surgery.

  • Clear fluids are encouraged if you are not diabetic (clear juice, coffee or tea without milk) up to two hours before surgery.

  • Home medications should be discussed with your doctor, as you may need to take certain medications with a sip of water the morning of your surgery or stop certain medications within so many days of your surgery.

  • Abdominal cleanses to use the night before and the morning of surgery to make sure the area is extra clean and provide an added layer of precaution against infection.

  • C-section education about what signs to watch out for in case you go into labor before your surgery, including your water breaking or bleeding. 

C-section Essentials To Bring 

After your C-section, you’ll likely stay in the hospital for between two and three days. Here are some important items to bring to keep yourself comfortable during your recovery. 

  • A copy of your birth plan.

  • Eyeglasses and contact lens case and solution

  • Lip balm

  • Hair ties

  • Charging cables for electronics

  • No-skid slippers

  • A nursing bra, if you plan to breastfeed

  • Comfortable, soft clothing with extra room or stretch in the abdominal area

  • The breast pump you’ll be using so your lactation consultant can teach you to use it properly

  • A pillow and/or blanket from home

  • Your baby’s car seat

Your C-section Recovery Starts Immediately 

After the procedure, you can expect some abdominal soreness, but your healthcare team will provide pain medication you can use as needed. 

On the evening after your scheduled surgery, you most likely will be up and walking already. Mornings may be more painful and sore, but you’ll notice at least a bit of recovery each day for about six weeks. 

Remaining comfortable in the days following your C-section is important, as stress and discomfort can have adverse effects on your mental health and hinder breast milk production and hormone regulation.


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