Here’s how you can improve your caesarean experience?

The following is simply a list of all the things you can do before, during and after a caesarean birth to help improve both your experience and your recovery. This is worth thinking about even if you are planning a vaginal birth, as, in many countries, a quarter of births end in caesarean delivery (planned or otherwise).


  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime
  • Accept the anti-nausea meds offered prior to surgery
  • Be aware you do not need sedatives prior to surgery and have the right to refuse them (I am referring to sedatives, NOT anaesthetic)
  • Remain hydrated, only stopping liquid intake 2 hours prior to surgery


  • A dedicated team member to keep you and your partner up to date and answer any questions
  • A doula (as well as birth partner) permitted in theatre if you have been working with one in the lead up to birth
  • Surgical gown on backwards (so it opens at the front) to enable skin-to-skin time in theatre if desired
  • Delayed cord clamping unless in an emergency situation
  • Baby passed straight to you unless medical attention is required. Weighing, cleaning etc. can be delayed
  • Skin closure with stitches, not staples (unless staples are medically necessary)
  • Appropriate pain relief regime begun immediately
  • Pressure shoes or stockings applied


  • Encouraged to eat and drink within 2 hours, particularly peppermint to aid with gas (no fizzy drinks)
  • Immediate breastfeeding support if breastfeeding is the intention
  • Catheter removal as soon as possible, no later than 12 hours (unless specific medical reasons require it remain in place)
  • Pressure stockings remain in place for duration of hospital stay
  • Supported to walk the same day as surgery
  • Keep on top of the pain medication regime – once you fall behind by an hour or more it can be difficult to build back up to an effective level
  • Accept all the help you are offered; you can always say no thank you later

Once at home:

  • Take it easy. Baby and you come first, not a guest’s cup of tea – let them make it and ask them to unload the washing machine while they are at it. Your on-going pain meds can mask signs that you might be over-doing it, so pay close attention
  • Avoid touching the surgical site, but use clean hands if you really need to
  • Keep an eye on the surgical site for early signs of infection
  • Consider continuing to wear the pressure stockings for an extra few days
  • Do not be tempted to resume exercise too soon, listen to your body – twinges reveal you may be over-doing it. With care you can begin very gentle exercise prior to 6-week wellness check (I am talking a gentle walk, I am definitely not suggesting situps, nor even a short jog etc.)

Some of these ideas are from an excellent article on ChildbirthU

And much more detail can be found in Caesarean Birth: A Positive Approach to Preparation and Recovery.