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Cesarean Section

In cesarean birth, babies are delivered through a surgical incision in the mother's abdominal wall. Cesareans are performed only when vaginal delivery is not possible or when there is a concern for the well-being of the mother or baby.

Why Cesarean Sections

Why Sections are Performed

Some of the reasons a cesarean birth might be performed include:

  • If the baby's head or body is too large for the mother's pelvis. This might not be discovered until during the labor process
  • If the baby's heart rate suggests it is not tolerating labor or the intrauterine environment satisfactorily
  • If the placenta detaches early or is covering the opening of the cervix
  • If the bag of waters ruptures and the baby's head is not tight against the cervix, sometimes causing the umbilical cord to slide out of the cervix in front of the head. You should come to the hospital right away if your bag of waters ruptures at home
  • If the baby is face down and side-ways or is going to come out bottom (not head) first, a cesarean section is usually performed

Any serious medical condition of the mother that complicates the mother or baby's health can necessitate a cesarean birth. These can include maternal heart condition, poorly controlled diabetes, high blood pressure or an active case of an STD.

About Cesarean Sections

Walking Through the Cesarean Section

If you need to have a cesarean section, your health care providers will explain your options and what will happen. Here are some of the preparation procedures:

  • An IV line will be started in your arm for fluids
  • A catheter will be placed in the bladder to keep it empty
  • Mom is taken to one of our operating rooms in the Women's Center
  • Heart and blood pressure monitors are set up
  • Regional anesthesia is administered to dull the pain but allow the mom to stay awake
  • General anesthesia might be administered to put mom to sleep if a serious complication arises - your doctor and anesthesia team will help you decide what option is best
  • The support person can change into scrubs and be present for the procedure

The actual delivery takes from 3-10 minutes after the surgery begins. The delivery of the placenta and the repair of the incisions takes another 30-40 minutes. Afterward, the mom and baby are transferred together back to the birthing suite for recovery. The nursing staff will check on mom's condition constantly for a few hours and be available to help with breastfeeding or other needs.

Since this type of birth includes major surgery, your hospital stay will likely be around three days. Using the supplied pain medications and using coughing and deep breathing techniques will facilitate a faster recovery.

The End Result

While a C/Section might not be the first choice for delivering a baby, it can still be a very satisfying experience. The end-result is the same as normal labor - the delivery of a healthy baby and a safe, healthy mom!

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