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Caesarean Section

A caesarean section, or C-section, is an operation to deliver your baby through a cut made in your tummy and womb.

The cut is usually made across your tummy, just below your bikini line.

A caesarean section is mostly done under  a spinal or epidural anaesthetic which means you will be awake during the operation and your partner will be able to attend the birth of your baby.

Why some  women need delivery by Caesarean

A caesarean may be recommended as a planned (elective) procedure or done in an emergency if it’s thought a vaginal birth is too risky.

Planned caesareans are usually done after completing 39 weeks of pregnancy but in some patients they are done before 39 weeks if there is a medical reason to deliver the baby earlier.

A planned caesarean may be carried out because of medical reasons like breech presentation, placenta praevia(Low lying placenta), twin pregnancies and growth restriction(slowing down of growth) in the baby.

An emergency caesarean section is performed in labour if the labour does not progress or if the baby gets distressed during labour

Asking for a caesarean birth

Some women choose to have a caesarean for non-medical reasons. If this decision is made by carefully considering the risks and benefits of the procedure then you are entitled to have a planned c section. Mr Kunde supports woman’s right to choose the type of delivery that she wishes to have. If you decide to have birth by a caesarean section then Mr Kunde will discuss the pros and cons of the operation with you and answer your questions.

What happens during a caesarean

Most caesareans are carried out under spinal or epidural anaesthetic. This mean you’ll be awake, but the lower part of your body is numbed so you won’t feel any pain. The anaesthetic doctor will see you before the operation and explain to you the process involved in giving the anaesthetic.

The following steps describe what happens when you arrive in the operation theatre with your partner accompanied by the midwife:

  • The anaesthetist will insert a cannula in your arm to give your intravenous fluid and other drugs like antibiotics during the operation.
  • The doctor will then give the spinal or epidural injection in your lower back.
  • The doctor will check the effect of the anaesthetic with a cold spray and will let the team in the theatre know when it is fully effective.
  • The midwife will then insert a catheter in the urinary bladder to drain the urine and keep the bladder empty during the operation.
  • Mr Kunde will  then clean your abdomen with an antiseptic liquid.
  • A screen is placed across your body so you can’t see what’s being done. 
  • A cut about 5 inches long will usually be made across your lower tummy and womb so your baby can be delivered.
  • You may feel some tugging and pulling during the procedure but there will be no pain.
  • The screen across the upper part of your abdomen will be lowered as the baby is delivered.
  • You and your birth partner will be able to hold your baby soon after delivery and you will be able to have a skin to skin contact with the baby.

The whole operation normally takes about 40-50 minutes. The cut on the tummy is stitched with dissolvable sutures and then covered with a waterproof glue which acts as a dressing and reduces the risk of infection.

Occasionally a general anaesthetic, where you’re asleep, may be used, particularly if the baby needs to be delivered more quickly.

Recovering from a caesarean

Recovering from a caesarean usually takes longer than recovering from a vaginal delivery. The stay in the hospital is for two to three days, compared with one or two days for a vaginal birth.

You will experience some pain in your tummy for the first few days, and you’ll be offered painkillers to help with this.

When you go home, you’ll need to take things easy at first. You may need to avoid some activities such as driving for six weeks or so.

The wound in your tummy will eventually form a scar. This may be red and swollen at first, but it should fade with time.

After 3-4 weeks you will have to rub the glue over the cut when you have shower and it will start peeling off.

Risks of a caesarean

A caesarean is generally a very safe procedure, but like any type of surgery it carries a certain amount of risk.

It’s important to be aware of the possible complications, particularly if you’re considering having a caesarean for non-medical reasons.

Possible complications include:

  • infection of the wound or womb lining
  • blood clots in the legs which can travel to lungs through blood circulation
  • excessive bleeding
  • damage to nearby areas, such as the bladder or the tubes that connect the kidneys and bladder (ureter)
  • temporary breathing difficulties in your baby.
  • accidentally cutting your baby when your womb is opened

Future pregnancies after a caesarean

After a caesarean section you will be advised not to become pregnant for 18 months to allow time for the scar to heal properly. After one caesarean section one can try for a vaginal delivery as long as there are no medical conditions that need delivery by a planned caesarean section. Women who choose to have a caesarean section can be delivered by a planned caesarean section.