What Is A Caesarean Section?
LABOUR: A Caesarean birth, or C-section, means delivering a baby surgically through an incision in the uterus and lower abdominal area.
Sometimes a C-section is scheduled in advance, perhaps due to a multiple pregnancy or mom's health concerns, while other times it is done in an emergency situation when something unforeseen happens or possible complications arise.
What happens if I'm having a C-section?
Prior to the C-section taking place, your doctor will explain in detail why the procedure is needed, and you will be required to sign a form of consent. If you have been using a midwife for your prenatal care, s/he will turn over your delivery to an obstetrician for the C-section. In most cases, your partner can be with you for the procedure, however there are some times when an emergency happens quickly and there is no time for your partner to prepare, or there is another medical reason that they are not allowed to go into the operating room with you.
Once you are in the operating room, an anesthesiologist will administer medication for pain control, which is usually given in the form of an epidural. This process numbs you from the waist down, but leaves you conscious so you can experience the birth of your child.
You will have a catheter inserted into your urethra to expel urine while the C-section is being done, and you will also have an IV inserted for medication, fluids and antibiotics. A screen will be placed above your waist so you do not view the incision when it is made. If you would like to see your baby being delivered, be sure to tell the nurse to lower the screen when the time comes. Your partner will be seated near your head.
Once you are completely numb from the waist down, your lower abdomen will be swabbed with an antiseptic solution, and the doctor will make a horizontal incision just above the pubic bone. When the uterus is reached, another horizontal incision is made in the lower area, known as the low transverse uterine incision. As soon as the incision into the uterus has been made, the doctor will remove the baby through it, and cut the umbilical cord. You will have a brief opportunity to see your new baby and then he or she will be given to a nurse for examination and basic care. The doctor will then deliver the placenta and close the incisions.
After your baby has been fully examined, the nurse will allow your partner to hold him or her close to you so you can welcome your bundle of joy. This will take place while you are being tended to, which may take up to half an hour to complete.
After a C-section
Following the C-section, you will be taken to recovery where you will be watched closely. As long as there are no problems with your baby, he or she can be in recovery with you to hold and admire. You will also be allowed to eat and drink, however the IV will still be in place.
In most cases, a new mother who has had a C-section birth can expect a four to five-day hospital stay. You may be given pain medication and your doctor will discuss after care and follow up appointments. When it comes to getting up and about afterwards, remember to avoid exercise or any strenuous lifting for at least 4-6 weeks after birth, until your doctor has given you the go-ahead.
Planned or not, C-section births are nothing to be fearful of – when all is said and done, you will have a wonderful new addition to your family!