Having a C-section is the most pain I’ve felt in my life. Not at the time of the actual C-section, but after. Most moms never prepare to have a C-section because they believe that a vaginal birth is the only way that the baby will come. However, things happen, and you must do what’s best for the baby, with no choices in the matter.
Pregnant mamas, it is important to know your options. Did you know that 9 in 10 mothers have concerns about taking opioids during and after childbirth? This post is here to let other mothers and women like me who plan to become pregnant know about the safety and benefits of non-opioid, pain-relieving options for C-sections. Below are some tips to help you make choices when C-section is your only option and unplanned.
When I was pregnant, I went in for a normal routine checkup and was told that I would be having the baby that day via C-section. My doctor did not say “is this what you want?” This wasn’t asked to me because there were no choices. My daughter needed an emergency C-section and that was that. My body wasn’t even ready for labor or even knew it was going to have a baby.
I had honestly done no research on C-sections because I didn’t ever think I would have one. I was researching it in a panic on the way to the hospital! Do not be like me.
Did you know that more than 1 in 3 women have C-section deliveries and overall 1 in 5 C-sections are unplanned. I was that 1 in 5 and had no idea that it was this common. Being unprepared set me up for things I had no idea about, especially opioid use before, during and after pregnancy.
Pain and Pills Before, During and After
After having a C-section, you are in a tremendous amount of pain. There isn’t anything quite comparable to the pain, plus having to take care of a brand new tiny human. What else can life throw at you at that moment? During the transition from hospital to home, you are prescribed pain medication to survive getting up out of bed, let alone walking to the car.
Most women who feel this type of pain will take whatever drug that can help them manage. This is true for labor, delivery and post-delivery too. When you are in pain, we get desperate and want the pain to go away. If you don’t speak with your doctor prior to feeling the actual pain, they will just give you whatever they prescribe for pain, which is often opioids.
Why is this an issue? Did you know that one in 10 patients become addicted to or dependent on opioids after surgery? These prescription painkillers, also called “narcotics”, are often used to control pain after surgeries. Being that a C-section is a surgery, this is usually the go-to medicine from doctors. The infographic below provides information about opioids. It shows you wouldn’t be alone in questions about the drugs given to you before, during and after birth.
Have a birth plan
36% of women who are pregnant do not have a birth plan. Having a birth plan means that you spoke with your doctor about the what-ifs and how they will be handling it. When speaking with your doctor, this is the perfect time to talk to them about pain management options, including non-opioids.
Questions to ask your doctor:
At the end of your pregnancy, you are visiting your doctor almost every week. During one of these visits, it is important to ask them some questions regarding C-sections. Like I mentioned above, I had no idea that C-section was even going to be an option for me. Second time around, I know better, but there are tons of women out there who will have the same experience. Here are some questions to ask your doctor about a postsurgical pain management plan that’s right for you.
- How much discomfort is usually associated with this procedure?
- How can I minimize the need for opioids?
- Are there non-opioid options?
- Can you tell me what I need to know about me to help customize my pain management?
- When the medications from my surgery wear off, what do I do?
- How will my pain be managed at home?
Asking these questions will give you and your doctor a good idea of the best choices for you. For example, if you are easily addicted to things, opioids should not a be a choice for you. The statistics are there, and they speak the truth.[blockquote align=”none” author=””]74% think a non-opioid option is appealing HOWEVER only 11% discussed these options with their doctor.[/blockquote]
Opioids and Childbirth
Do you believe that opioids should be given to women before, during or after pregnancy? Put this into perspective. For 9 months, you couldn’t smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, take ibuprofen, or eat deli meats. But taking opioids for pain is totally okay? Doesn’t that kind of seem silly to you? But since the doctor prescribes it, we don’t really question it.[blockquote align=”none” author=””]38% of women are open to pain management options but think some kinds of pain medications are or could be harmful to them or their baby.[/blockquote]
After giving birth most women make their attempt at breastfeeding. Being on opioids and trying to breastfeed your newborn baby make many women concerned. Will there be any impact on the baby? Can I still breastfeed? Will there be side effects? It’s important to ask your doctor about any of the drugs they are giving you during this time and if they will affect your child.
If you are pregnant, or planning to get pregnant, your next step should be having a conversation with your doctor. Write down the questions above and take notes with the answers. Make sure to do some research on the type of drugs they are going to give you for pain, and ask about non-opioid options.
Remember, 44% of C-section mothers were not completely satisfied with how their pain was managed during birth. This statistic is from women who had no idea what their next steps were before giving birth.
Make the right choices for you and your family prior to the birthing process and learn more at www.planagainstpain.com.