A Caesarean is an operation where an incision (a cut) is made through the abdomen to deliver the baby. It is also called a caesarean delivery.

Even if one is planning a vaginal birth, it’s important to prepare for the unexpected. Discuss the possibility of a C-section with the gynaecologist well before your due date. Ask questions, share concerns and review the circumstances that might make a C-section the best option. In an emergency, doctor might not have time to explain the procedure or answer the questions in detail.

Some Caesareans are planned and some are emergencies. At times a C-section is safer for mother or baby than is a normal (vaginal delivery). In addition, several women request C-sections with their first babies to avoid labour or the possible complications of vaginal birth, or to take advantage of the convenience of a planned delivery.

Planned Caesarean
If a Caesarean is planned, doctor will share all the information necessary to make the decision. A planned Caesarean will not be done before 38 weeks of the pregnancy, unless there are concerns about mother or baby’s. Some of the reasons for planned Caesarean include

  • When labour isn’t progressing
  • When baby isn’t getting enough oxygen
  • When baby is in an abnormal position
  • Multiple Pregnancy (Twins, Triplets)
  • There’s a problem with the placenta.
  • There’s a problem with the umbilical cord.
  • When mother has a health concern
  • When baby has a health concern

Emergency Caesarean
Caesarean may be done as an emergency when your baby needs to be born quickly and it is not safe to wait until woman gets into labour, or induction of labour is not advisable, or  may be in labour and there is some concern at the time for mother or baby’s.

At the Time of Caesarean

Before the caesarean, doctor and the anaesthetist will talk about the type of anaesthetic. With a general anaesthetic one will be asleep for the operation, using epidural or spinal anaesthesia one is numbed from the chest to the feet, and can be awake

  • The surgeon makes a cut across the abdomen just above the pubic area.
  • The womb (uterus) and amniotic sac are opened.
  • The baby is delivered through this opening.

The doctor will clear fluids from the baby’s mouth and nose and the umbilical cord is cut.

After the Caesarean

After the operation, mother is taken to a recovery room for a while, before she can be taken back to the ward. She may feel tender and sore, and may need pain relief. She will be bleeding from her vagina, just like women do after a vaginal birth. This bleeding is like a menstrual period at first, but the bleeding gets less over the following few days. There will be a dressing covering the cut on the abdomen as you will have stitches or staples on the cut. These will usually be taken out in a week. Sometimes dissolving stitches are used that doesn’t need to be removed.

Mother will be able to go home with her baby once she is mobile and able to care for her baby independently, this usually takes 4-5 days after the Caesarean.

The surgery is relatively safe for mother and baby. Still, it is major surgery and one will take time to recover.