Menu

10 C-section myths we’d like to clear up right now

Myth #4: You can’t breastfeed after a C-section. While it may be a little more challenging at first, you absolutely can!

10 C-section myths we’d like to clear up right now

One out of three women in the United States becomes a mother via a cesarean section. That's a lot of mamas. Yet despite the high numbers, there are still plenty of misconceptions around them.


I have been a midwife for 7 years, so I thought I'd clear up just a few of those myths here:

Myth # 1: C-sections aren't births

Let's clear this up right now, because this is simply, without a doubt, not true. When a baby is born from your body, it is birth. Period.

Saying that a c-section isn't birth because it didn't happen vaginally is like saying that soccer isn't a sport because it's not tennis. Cesarean sections and vaginal births are different yes. But you know what's not different? How hard a mother works to grow and birth her baby, how committed to her baby's health and safety she is, how proud she should be of herself when she's done, and how much she loves her baby.

And while we're on the subject, many women who have C-sections do go through labor. Most C-sections are unplanned, meaning something comes up during labor that causes the need for a C-section. So, many women have already had many hours of contractions.

Myth #2: Birth classes + plans aren't necessary with C-sections

Every mother deserves to have her best birth. Part of having an awesome birth experience is taking a birth class that will empower you to give birth in awareness and confidence. The Becoming Mama™ Online Birth Class™ Online Birth Class covers C-sections and gives you these tools, so you can look back at your birth experience with joy.

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama offers and entire chapter on C-sections, plus tons of content on recovery!

Myth #3: C-sections aren't a big deal

C-sections are becoming more common, but that doesn't mean they are less serious. First, birth is always a big deal. But this kind of birth is also a surgery. This means they shouldn't be gone into “lightly"—make sure to ask all the questions you have.

And, make sure to really take care of yourself afterwards. The recovery from a C-section can be tougher than from a vaginal birth, so make sure your home is set up to support you, you have the gear you need to feel comfortable, and that you enlist all the help you need.

Myth #4: You can't breastfeed after a C-section

While it may be a little more challenging at first, you absolutely can breastfeed after your cesarean birth! The medications given are usually safe for breastfeeding, and with the help of a lactation consultant or nurse, you'll be able to find positions that are comfortable.

Myth 5#: Women don't have vaginal bleeding after a C-section

I know this one seems a bit random, but I get asked this all the time. The primary reason women bleed after birth is because their uterus is healing from the (normal) placental separation, and because the uterus is “shrinking" back to its pre-pregnancy size (and some blood is pressed out in the process).

This happens in vaginal and cesarean births, so stock up on those maxi-pads (and take some home from the hospital!).

Myth #6: Once a C-section, always a C-section

Veni Veci VBAC, baby!

VBACs (or vaginal births after cesareans), are absolutely possible for many women (it often depends on why the first C-section was done—some causes are one-time events, others are more likely to repeat themselves.). But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that 60-80% of women should be able to have a successful VBAC.

If you want to have a VBAC, make sure to ask lots of questions, advocate for yourself and choose a provider and birth place that is supportive of you.

Myth #7: You won't have any sensation during your c-section

Don't worry—you won't have pain! They will do a lot of tests before they start to make sure you are numb. But, when the baby is being born you will feel pressure in your abdomen (the pain medication they give you can't take that away). A lot of women are caught off guard by that, but it's completely normal.

Myth #8: You'll be bedridden for days after your C-section

Quite the opposite! After a C-section, it is particularly important that you get up and walk around to help get everything in your body moving and to prevent complications. You'll need help from your nurse in the beginning and you won't be running races for a little while, but movement after almost any surgery is very important.

Myth #9: You can't do skin-to-skin after a C-section

Skin-to-skin (putting your naked baby directly on your bare chest) is one of the most glorious parts of parenting. It provides so many emotional and physical benefits to you and your baby, and it is just oh-so-lovely.

The good news is that you can often do it after a C-section. Make sure to let your medical team know that you want to, and a nurse can help you do skin-to-skin in the OR, or shortly after in recovery.

Pro tip: If you're not able to do it, your partner can!

Myth # 10: Having a C-section means you can't get postpartum depression

Even though you are not going through labor, the same hormonal shifts happen after the baby is born. And, you're adjusting to life as a mom and taking care of a tiny human, all while recovering from surgery. So be very aware of your emotional status. If you frequently feel sad, have trouble bonding with your baby, have no energy, or feel like hurting yourself or the baby, get help right away. You are not alone.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life