My Experience with Opioids and Non-Opioid Options For C-section Mamas

 Disclosure: Pacira BioSciences Inc. sponsored this post; however, the opinions expressed below are my own genuine opinions. 

Becoming a mother the first time was probably one of the most confusing, challenging, yet rewarding roads I have ever been on. There is so much information, and at the time there wasn’t a lot of transparency. I made a birth plan, and everyone told me I was so young my body would just know what to do, which left me with a lot of unanswered questions. 

I ended up needing an emergency C-section, something I hadn’t discussed with my doctor beforehand. I didn’t even know the process or what recovery would look like after a C-section. They had prescribed opioid medication to manage the pain. The pain I had experienced after my C-section was nothing like I had ever even imagined. Every cough and every laugh I experienced in the hospital made me feel like crying.

For my expecting moms out there, all I want to do is present you with options and things to talk about with your doctor. I wish there had been someone out there giving me options to explore. I know there is no way to be one hundred percent prepared when it comes to birth because there are so many variables, but for me, I want to be prepared for as many outcomes as possible.

After 5 days of being in the hospital, we were finally allowed to go home! Once they let us go home though, I found myself reaching for my opioid medication so I could sleep through the pain. Having a newborn and having to deal with recovery from surgery is probably one of the hardest things to do when you’re a first-time mom. However, as the pain subsided, I still found myself reaching for the opioids to force myself to sleep when my baby slept. I was 20 years old, had never been prescribed anything more than an antibiotic in my life but here I was, taking painkillers that I really didn’t need. When I went back to the doctor, he didn’t even ask me if I wanted to get a refill, he just wrote one for me. I ended up not filling the prescription for fear that I would become reliant on these opioid painkillers.

When it comes to planning for a C-Section or if, like me, you end up needing an emergency C-section, it’s important to know your options. An opioid-free alternative to pain management I recently learned about is EXPAREL® (bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension). EXPAREL starts controlling pain during the surgery and continues for the first few days after surgery when you need it the most. It works by numbing the area of your body where your surgery was performed, unlike opioids, which affect your whole body. 

Talk to your doctor about your non-opioid pain management options and go to EXPAREL’s website to create a discussion guide to help you have that conversation! 

EXPAREL is indicated for single-dose infiltration in adults to produce postsurgical local analgesia and as an interscalene brachial plexus nerve block to produce postsurgical regional analgesia. Safety and efficacy have not been established in other nerve blocks.
Important Safety Information
  • EXPAREL should not be used in obstetrical paracervical block anesthesia.
  • In studies where EXPAREL was injected into the wound, the most common side effects were nausea, constipation, and vomiting.
  • In studies where EXPAREL was injected near a nerve, the most common side effects were nausea, fever, and constipation.
  • EXPAREL is not recommended to be used in patients younger than 18 years old or in pregnant women.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have liver disease, since this may affect how the active ingredient (bupivacaine) in EXPAREL is eliminated from your body.
  • EXPAREL should not be injected into the spine, joints, or veins.
  • The active ingredient in EXPAREL:
  • Can affect your nervous system and your cardiovascular system
  • May cause an allergic reaction
  • May cause damage if injected into your joints
  • Can cause a rare blood disorder

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