Caesarean section, also called a C-section, is a non-vaginal delivery of a baby. It is a surgical procedure of delivering a baby through an incision made in the abdomen and in the uterus. Your doctor may decide to perform a C-section if your condition is unsafe to go for a vaginal birth. Most of the times, it may be done when unexpected complications arise during labour. Some of the conditions, for which your obstetrician may recommend caesarean delivery, include:
- Twin or multiple pregnancy
- Labour does not progress – The uterine contractions may not be enough to cause dilation of the cervix and allow the baby to move into the birth canal
- Fetal complications – Umbilical cord compression or abnormal heart rate
- Placental problems – The placenta may detach from the uterus before delivery, the condition is called placental abruption
- Large-sized baby – The head of the baby may be large and the birth canal may be small comparatively to allow safe normal delivery
- Abnormal presentation – Breech baby or baby is in an abnormal position
- Maternal conditions and infections – Conditions such as maternal diabetes or maternal high blood pressure and maternal infections such as human immunodeficiency virus or herpes
Your doctor may recommend a C-section if you had a C-section during your previous pregnancy. In conditions, such as placenta praevia, where your placenta lies too low in the uterus and blocks the birth canal, your doctor may suggest a C-section when it is diagnosed by ultrasound several weeks before delivery.
In the current scenario, C-section delivery is done not only because of medical complications but also some women choose C-section, though the medical necessity doesn’t exist. This is elective C-section or parent-choice C-section. Some of the reasons why some women choose C-section include:
- Fear of the delivery pain
- Fear of unpredictable outcomes
- Concern about sexual life in the future
- Avoid the traumatic experiences of a previous vaginal birth
- To avoid the possible medical conditions, such as incontinence and perineal damage
- Personal issues, such as their family and work place issues
Obstetricians may do counselling and convince the patients for a safe and successful vaginal delivery, unless they anticipate some medical complications.
Preparation for Caesarean Delivery
Once you are moved into the surgery room, an intravenous line, through which fluids and medications are given during the surgery, is placed in a vein of your arm. Antibiotics may be administered to prevent infection. A thin tube or catheter will be placed in the urethra, so as to drain the bladder and keep it empty during the procedure. Anaesthesia, usually a spinal block, will be administered, then your doctor will make two incisions, one through the skin and the abdominal wall and the second one through the uterus. The abdominal wall incision is made 10 cms in length and the incision passes into the skin and fat. It is usually a horizontal low and cosmetically aesthetic incision. The abdominal muscles are moved apart. After this incision the uterus is opened to remove the baby. Once the baby is out, your doctor will clamp and cut the umbilical cord and remove the placenta. Closure is with absorbable sutures
As you will be awake during your caesarean, you will see the baby immediately and the atmosphere in the operating room is kept family friendly. You will have a catheter and an I.V line, which all is taken down the next day. Pain relief will be prescribed, as will antibiotics. Mobilisation happens in 12 to 24 hours but breastfeeding can be immediate, even in the recovery room.