If you're scheduled for a C-section to deliver your baby, you probably have done some reading on what to expect in terms of preparation, the actual procedure, and recovery. However, there are some things you might experience that aren't often mentioned. Having had a C-section myself, here are some of the things I went through that I wasn't expecting:
Numbness around the scar: This was by far the weirdest side effect I experienced, and one I wasn't prepared for. Most women will experience numbness at the incision site because of nerves being cut during surgery. No need to worry about it, however. Normal feeling will, in most cases, return, but it may take up to a year.
Itching as the scar heals: Little by little sensation will return to your scar area. As it does, the area around your scar will itch. Early on it can be very annoying when you try to scratch but can't get the itch to go away, or when you want to scratch but are still too squeamish about touching the scar area. Don't worry though; it's more of an annoyance than actually painful.
Swelling (edema): This is not a direct side-effect of a C-section; rather, it is a side effect of the IV fluids that are given to you during the procedure. For me, having had no swelling during pregnancy, it was definitely unexpected. My feet got so big and puffy. The swelling subsided in a few days, but I was definitely left confused by this side effect which I thought only happened during pregnancy.
Hard time laughing: After my C-section, it hurt to cough, and I had expected that. However, it also hurt to laugh. Even when I tried holding my laughter in, I was still using my abdominal muscles and it made me feel like my insides were going to fall out! A tip a nurse gave me: Hold a pillow to your incision area as you cough or laugh.
Emotional side effects: I can't say whether this happens to many women after a C-section or just a few, but some women, especially those whose C-sections were unexpected, experience sadness or even emotional trauma. Feelings of inadequacy, guilt, or failure sometimes happen and can be very hard to deal with. If you are one of these women, don't worry, those raw feelings will go away with time. It's definitely worth knowing, however, that these feelings may happen, and are completely normal. Of course, talk to your doctor if you feel like you're having more than a case of the baby blues.