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What is a Caesarean Section Delivery ?

When should Ceasarian Sections be considered:

  • Urgent (unplanned emergency) caesareans: If some unexpected complication suddenly occurs during pregnancy or labor, you may need an urgent caesarean (for example if your cervix doesn’t dilate fully during labor, or if you start bleeding heavily during labor).
  • Planned (elective) caesareans: Your doctor or midwife may warn you in advance that you require a caesarean if they believe normal delivery could pose risks to you or your baby. You also have the option of choosing a caesarean birth if you do not want a vaginal birth due to personal preferences. Having a caesarean birth once does not mean you will not be able to have a vaginal birth for your next baby, unless you have an inherent health condition which makes vaginal birth unadvisable (for example if you have a small pelvis you may be asked to plan caesarean deliveries for all births).

What happens during a caesarean section?

 Caesareans are surgical procedures and are therefore performed under anesthesia in a hospital. You will normally be given a strong epidural or spinal anesthesia. If you have an epidural or spinal anesthesia, you won’t feel any pain, and you will be conscious when your baby is taken out. Your birth partner will also be able to be present, and you will be able to hold your baby soon after birth. A screen will be put up to prevent you from seeing the surgery so you don’t panic, however your doctor or birth partner will be able to tell you what’s happening at the other end. Caesareans are quick and generally last less than an hour.

If a very urgent caesarean is required, general anesthesia may be administered.  During general anesthesia you will not be conscious during birth, and your partner will not be able to be present in the operating ward.

What to expect after a caesarean

  • As with all surgery, you may feel discomfort as the effect of pain killers wear off after a caesarean.
  • You may be fitted with a catheter (so you don’t have to use the bathroom to pass urine) for up to 24 hours
  • You may be given daily injections to prevent blood clots from forming
  • You may have to remain in hospital for two-four days depending on your condition and the support available at home after you return
  • You will be encouraged to walk as soon as you feel comfortable and your midwife or a hospital physiotherapist may be able to prescribe postnatal exercise to speed up your recovery
  • You may not be able to drive for a couple weeks post-caesarean

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