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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Millie Mackintosh gets candid about her c-section and recovery experience


by Sarah Finnan
09th Sep 2021

Candice Lake

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Currently pregnant with her second child, former ‘Made in Chelsea’ star Millie Mackintosh got real with followers about her experience of childbirth and what having a c-section was really like.

Motherhood looks different for everyone. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to parenting and the same can be said for the birthing process itself. What works for one person may not necessarily work for someone else, but hearing about another mother’s experience can be reassuring all the same. 

Recently opening up about her daughter’s birth and what her own experience was like, Millie Mackintosh said that she was encouraged to do so as it’s a topic she gets asked about on the regular. Explaining that daughter Sienna was breech so an abdominal birth was the safest way for her to arrive, Millie admitted that this was actually her own personal “birth preference” – later acknowledging that not having a vaginal birth can be “very upsetting” for some mums. 

Welcoming baby Sienna

“I am a planner,” she confessed. “I liked knowing when and how Sienna would be delivered. I requested a natural c-section which I really recommend if you have a choice. It’s basically a slowed-down caesarean but I’d explore this for yourself if interested.”

“To be totally honest, yes it did really hurt when the pain killers started to wear off, but to put it into perspective I experienced more pain from breastfeeding and cracked nipples than from my c-section,” she continued. 

According to her, she felt “very woozy from all the drugs” and dipped in and out of consciousness in the hours that followed. “At one point my skin started to itch all over which is apparently a normal reaction and I was given an antihistamine to help,” Mackintosh told followers.

Wanting to be transparent about the whole thing, the former reality show star also spoke candidly of her post-op recovery – not holding back on the bad bits either. “I stayed in hospital for two nights as I was really keen to get home and be with Hugo in our newborn bubble. The second morning I had a low point and I remember calling my mum crying, the pain of a raw bleeding nipple combined with being sore from my surgery all got too much,” she wrote. 

Her advice? “Make sure someone looking after you has an alarm set for when you can take your next pain medication and they stay on it to help manage it.”

Rest and relaxation

Following her original post up with a second just one week later, Millie shared a photo of baby Sienna as a newborn, using the caption to delve further into the recovery process. Trying to rest up as much as possible, she said that she was “very fortunate” to have both her husband Hugo and postnatal doula Paula on hand to help her.

Staying home for a full week, Millie then began going for short walks around her neighbourhood but she “got carried away” as she put it. “I did too much and ended up in bed with cramps and with heavy bleeding. My advice is to listen to your body and take it very slowly, get as much help as you can so that you can rest and let your body heal.”

As almost all new parents will tell you, motherhood is far from glamorous but Millie didn’t shy away from sharing that side of things either. Detailing how she spent the first few days wearing adult nappy pants (which she highly recommends, by the way), she then moved on to “big cotton knickers with an industrial-sized pad”, before reducing this down to just a panty liner. 

Her obstetrician applied a pico dressing to the wound to help protect from bacteria with the new mum also having to inject herself in the thigh for about 10 days to reduce the chance of developing a blood clot. 

Addressing many of the picture-perfect images she often sees of new mums on Instagram, Mackintosh said that while she thinks it’s amazing their experiences were so positive, her reality was “very different”. “I felt fragile, exhausted, emotional, self-conscious and in a state of shock for the first few weeks and it took me months to feel physically strong again.”

Cutting herself some slack

Quite vocal on the topic of pregnancy and motherhood since first becoming a mum last summer, Millie also previously spoke out about the way that her body has changed in the months since giving birth. Targeted by some “overly strong and hurtful comments” about her appearance, she said that while she’s always usually been “pretty body confident”, all that changed as she grew a tiny human inside her. “I’m in awe of what my body has achieved over the last year but I find it hard not seeing the girl I know to be me looking back at me in the mirror,” she wrote at the time.

“I now see photos of myself pre-pregnancy and remember thinking at the time I didn’t like my body at a certain angle but now I look back and think I looked great! It’s made me realise how critical I am of myself and how it’s so crucial, as women, that we learn to let ourselves off the hook. 

“My mantra has always been that you exercise because you love your body not because you hate it, so any movement I do now is with the intention to feel good and never to punish myself. Sienna is worth every extra inch, pound and stretch mark. My body made me a mother and for that, I’ll always be grateful.”

Now pregnant with baby number two, Millie confirmed that she plans on having an abdominal birth this time around too.

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