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Owning Your C-Section

Plan ahead

Create a c-section wish list. Conscious choices about the things you have control over can help make your experience a more positive one. A few points to consider:

The kind of mood you want in the operating room As surprising as it sounds, some surgeons like to operate to music. If you feel it would relax you, ask about bringing your own music to play in the OR. Want to record the event? Videos may not be allowed in the operating room, but cameras often are. If you'd like to see what's going on during the surgery, ask the nurses if they can lower the curtain and put up a mirror.

Whether you can keep your newborn with you in the recovery room and nurse immediately Hospital policy often dictates these two things. In some cases, the answers depend on the health of the baby and mother. If everyone is fine, then you may be allowed to do both.

Whether you'd like additional support from a relative, a friend, or a doula or midwife If you go from the birthing room to the operating room and you've been working with a midwife or doula, many hospitals will allow her to accompany you. If your hospital requires that your baby be observed in the nursery immediately following the birth (to insure that body temperature and breathing are normal), your birth coach or another relative may be able to stay by your side in the recovery room to keep you from feeling lonely while your partner goes to the nursery (or vice versa). If you're scheduled, also consider whether you want family to wait during the surgery or if you'd prefer time with the baby before you see them.

Remember that a c-section delivery is still childbirth. Eating healthy foods, exercising, and staying within the recommended weight range will help your baby and increase the likelihood of a smooth surgery and recovery. "The more fit you are before a surgical birth, the better you'll be able to handle things afterward like getting up and out of bed, which is key to lessening your risk of blood clots and getting your intestines functioning at normal capacity," explains Sindhu Srinivas, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.