C-section, also known as caesarean delivery, is the surgical delivery of the baby in which one cut is made in the mother’s abdomen and another in the uterus. It is a common and safe procedure which is either planned or performed in times of an emergency. The recovery period for this type of delivery is longer than the normal delivery.
Why is C-section delivery done?
Typically, a c-section delivery is performed in cases when the mother and the baby both are at risk and when the complications in the pregnancy make vaginal birth difficult. C-section delivery is normally done in the below cases or due to the following reasons.
- If you are expecting triplets i.e. two or more babies
- In case the pelvis is too small to deliver an average size baby
- The Baby’s head or body is too large to safely pass through the pelvis
- In the case of placenta previa in which the placenta is lying too low in the uterus, making it difficult for the baby to exit through the cervix or in case of placenta abruption in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus even before the baby is born
- Breech position in which the baby’s head is upwards and the feet are coming out first
- In case the baby is in a horizontal or sideways position in the uterus
- The oxygen supply to the baby is reduced
- The baby’s shoulders are out first
- In case if the mother has genital herpes at the time of delivery
- Problems with the umbilical cord
- In case of uterine fibroids or pelvic fracture
- Fetal distress i.e. irregular heartbeat of the baby
- If the umbilical cord comes out of the body before the baby does
- No progress of labour i.e. cervix dilates, but the baby stops moving down the birth canal
Risks associated with C-section delivery
While c-section delivery has become extremely common in today’s time, it is a major surgery which is risky both for the mother and the child. Below are a few of the risks associated with caesarean delivery.
- Blood clots
- Injury to the child during the course of the surgery
- Increased risk for future pregnancies
- Surgical injury caused to other organs
- Breathing problems in the child
- Recovery time for this type of delivery is longer compared to vaginal birth
How is C-section delivery performed?
In the case of c-section delivery, it is important to note that you will have to stay in the hospital for 4-5 days. Before the surgery, the doctor’s consent for the delivery will be taken. Your body hair around the area of the incision will be clipped or shaved. Your heart rate and blood pressure would be monitored. And to keep your bladder empty, a catheter will be inserted.
Based on your medical condition, the types of anaesthesia below would be administered:
Spinal block: This type of anaesthesia makes the lower part of your body numb and is injected into the sac surrounding your spine
Epidural: This is injected in your lower back outside the sac of the spinal cord
General anaesthesia: This type of anaesthesia puts you in painless sleep and is reserved for emergency situations
After you are properly medicated and numbed, the doctor will make an incision just above the pubic hairline. The incision will be horizontal. Once the incision is made and your uterus is made on the abdomen, the doctor will then make an incision in the uterus. The baby will then be removed from the uterus. The doctor will first attend to the baby, clearing the fluids in its mouth or nose and cutting the umbilical cord. The baby will then be checked to see if its heartbeat is normal or not and then be given to you and your other family members.
The doctor will then give you stitches on the abdomen and the uterus to close the sections.
What happens after caesarean delivery?
After the caesarean delivery, you and your baby will have to stay in the hospital for the next 4-5 days. You will continue to remain on IV through which you will be given painkillers, so you don’t feel any pain while the anaesthesia wards off. The doctor will then ask you to walk around a bit, so you don’t feel constipated and to prevent blood clots. The doctor will give you a set of recommendations to follow, but in general, you will be asked to do the following:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Rest for a few days
- Avoid sex for 4-5 weeks
- Take medications for managing pain
- Sit in the right posture to support your abdomen
- Seek help if you are going through postpartum depression
You should immediately contact your doctor if you experience the following:
- Pain in breasts accompanied by fever
- Pain when urinating
- Foul-smell from the vagina
- Fever above 100 °F, redness or swelling from the incision