Caesarean Section: What to expect?

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There are 2 different scenarios for a Caesarean section:

  1. Elective
  2. Emergency

You can have an elective Caesarean section for various different reasons including:

  • Baby in Breech position
  • Two or more previous Caesarean
  • Bad birthing experience
  • Multiple Birth
  • Placenta Praevia and various other reasons.

If you are having an elective C-section you will be given a date for admission to the hospital and your Doctor or Midwife will give you all the information that you will need.

An Emergency C-section usually occurs:

  • If the baby is showing signs of distress and/or the mothers’ health is being compromised

The procedure for both will be the same:

  • You will be taken into theatre; your birthing partner will wait outside until the Doctors are happy for Him or Her to come into the theatre
  • When you go in there will be a lot of people in the room, you will have a least two Theatre Nurses, a Midwife, Anaesthetist, Paediatrician and two Doctors to do the C-section
  • You will be given a Spinal Anaesthetic which will leave you completely numb from your chest down. You will still be awake and fully conscious and waiting to hear the first little cry!
  • A Cloth screen is placed over your chest so the Doctors can perform the CS. You won’t be able to see the operation but don’t worry you will be in safe hands
  • Despite being numb from the anaesthetic, you will still feel some pulling as the doctors delivers the baby
  • As soon as the baby is delivered, the Midwife and/or Paediatrician will dry the baby off and exam him/her
  • In some hospitals and particularly in an emergency situation the baby may be taken out to the recovery area and placed in an incubator until the doctors have finished your CS and are happy for you to join the baby in the recovery room. You will only be separated for a short period and your birthing partner can stay with the baby
  • You will be monitored for about an hour post-delivery in the Recovery room before being moved to the ward
  • It can take anywhere from 4- 12 hours for the Anaesthetic to wear off so be prepared to remain in bed for a good period after delivery!
  • You will have a catheter in place for passing water and the Midwives will ensure you have adequate pain relief
  • It can be a slow recovery after a CS, so be prepared to stay in hospital for about 3 days (see our hospital bag checklist for tips)
  • Pain relief is very important, so don’t be afraid to let the nurse know if you are feeling a little uncomfortable
  • It is very important is care for the wound, the Midwives will guide through care of the wound at home. A lot of women don’t like to look at the wound but if you want it to heal quickly and without problem you need to check it at least 3 times a day in the mirror and keep it clean. This way you will notice if it’s not healing correctly or becoming infected

Make sure you accept all the help you can get from your friends and family

  • Keep your underwear and clothing well above the wound (Bridget Jones underwear essential) so there is no friction or rubbing against it. If you have any worries you can contact you GP
  • As with a vaginal delivery you will have vaginal bleeding, which can last for up to 6 weeks post-delivery. Monitor your bleeding and if you find that it has become heavier or you are passing large clots (Some small clots are normal ) you need to go straight to the hospital
  • It is recommend you lift nothing heavier than your baby for the first few weeks after your CS. However, gentle exercise such as walking can be done
  • You will not be insured to drive for up to 6 weeks after delivery. So you will need to consider this if you have other children and also for everyday things such as shopping

It’s important that you have plenty of rest to allow yourself to fully heal. This isn’t always easy with a new baby in the house, so make sure you accept all the help you can get from your friends and family.

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