Cesarean Delivery (C-Section)

Cesarean Delivery

Cesarean delivery, also called C-section, is using surgery to deliver a baby. The baby is taken out through the mother's abdomen. Sometimes, a caesarean delivery becomes necessary when a vaginal delivery would put the baby or mother at risk. Most cesarean births result in healthy babies and mothers.

Reasons For C-section

Your doctor might recommend a C-section if she or he thinks it is safer for you or your baby than vaginal birth. Some C-sections are planned. But most C-sections are done when unexpected problems occur during delivery.

Reasons for cesarean delivery (C-section) may include:

  • The mother has health problems, such as HIV infection, herpes infection, and heart disease
  • The mother has severe high blood pressure
  • The mother has problems with the shape of her pelvis
  • The mother has had a previous C-section
  • The mother is carrying more than one baby
  • There are problems with the placenta or the umbilical cord
  • The size of the baby is large
  • There are problems with the position of the baby, such as breech
  • The baby shows signs of distress, such as a slowed heart rate

Knowing About C-section

Learning about cesarean delivery (C-section) is important for all pregnant women before delivery. C-section carries some risks just like any other surgery. Healing also takes longer than with vaginal birth. Pregnant women should find out what C-sections are, why they are performed, and the pros and cons of this surgery.

What Happens Before Surgery:  A cesarean delivery takes place in an operating room and takes about 45 to 60 minutes. You will be moved from labor and delivery room to an operating room. An anesthesiologist (a doctor specialized in administration of anesthetics) will give you medicine through an epidural or spinal block. This will block the feeling of pain in part of your body but allow you to stay awake and alert. The spinal block works quickly and completely numbs your body from the chest down. The epidural takes away pain, but you might be aware of some tugging or pushing. A nurse will clean and prep your abdomen. You will be given IV for fluids and medicines. A nurse will insert a catheter to drain urine from your bladder to protect your bladder from harm during surgery. During the surgery, your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing also will be monitored.

What Happens During Surgery:  First, the doctor will make two incisions side to side and low on the abdomen, called bikini incisions. Next, the doctor will make an incision to open the uterus. The incision is made just wide enough for the baby to fit through. One doctor will use a hand to support the baby while another doctor pushes the uterus to help push that baby out. The doctor will suction out fluid from the baby's mouth and nose. After the baby is delivered, the doctor cuts out the umbilical cord and remove the placenta. Then, the doctor cleans and stitches up the uterus and abdomen.

What Happens After Surgery:  The doctors will move you to a recovery room and monitor you for a few hours. You might feel shaky, nauseated, and very sleepy. After ensuring you are safe, you will be brought to a hospital room.

C-section is a major surgery. Your body needs time to heal just like any other surgery. You may have to stay in the hospital for three to four days after delivery.

Can I Opt For Cesarean Delivery (C-Section)?

In recent years, many pregnant women are opting for cesarean delivery (C-section) even when there is no medical reason for it. Some pregnant women want to opt for C-section due to fear of pain and tearing during labor and childbirth. Some other pregnant women opt for it due to convenience of being able to decide when and how to deliver their baby.

Many obstetricians feel it is their ethical obligation to talk women out of elective C-sections. Generally, they encourage you to go for vaginal birth if there is no medical reason. Some obstetricians believe that women should be able to choose a C-section if they understand the risks and benefits.

If you want to opt for C-section, you should discuss all aspects of it including risks and benefits with your doctor before taking a decision.

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