Under The Knife You Go - What to Expect From a Caesarean Delivery

Under The Knife You Go – What to Expect From a Caesarean Delivery

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Contrary to popular belief, having a Caesarean is not really the ‘easy way out’. A Caesarean section is a major abdominal surgery. It basically involves making an incision in the mother’s abdomen and another in the uterus so the baby can be lifted out.

 

It can be performed under a general anaesthetic but if you have already had an epidural or spinal block you may be able to remain conscious throughout the surgery.

 

 

Elective Caesareans

Team of surgeons in operation room during surgery

 

These are usually performed for one (or a combination of) the following reasons:

  • Placenta praevia (low-lying placenta)
  • Your baby is in an abnormal position
  • Active genital herpes infection
  • Known cephalopelvic disproportion (the baby’s head is too big for the mother’s pelvis)
  • Problems with a previous birth
  • Diabetes (sometimes)
  • Breech presentation
  • Poor placental function
  • Multiple babies
  • Pre-eclampsia (sometimes)

 

Advantages

  • You know exactly what day you are having your baby and can plan accordingly.
  • Your baby is being born with all necessary medical assistance on stand-by.
  • You do not have to endure the pain of labour and you know the birth would not take hours.
  • Your perineum remains intact.

 

Disadvantages

  • A Caesarean is a major abdominal surgery that carries risks, mainly infection and damage to the mother’s organs. The newborn also faces a higher risk of having respiratory distress as he missed the journey down the birth canal.
  • Recovery time will be longer and your activity will be restricted.
  • You are likely to be immobile for at least a few hours while the drugs wear off, and you will have both a drip and catheter in place.
  • Some women may feel disappointed or cheated because they have not actively birthed their baby.
  • Bonding may be hindered as you cannot hold your baby straightaway.

 

 

How is it done?

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1. First, a drip will be inserted in your arm for medication and fluids. You will also be given something to prevent nausea.

2. The anaesthetic will be given. A spinal block will numb you from the chest down; an epidural from the waist down. You have to lie very still while they are both injected into an area around your spine (you will be given a local anaesthetic first).

3. A catheter will be inserted into your bladder and your abdomen will be swabbed. Nurses will erect a screen so you do not have to see the gory bits– beware of reflections in the light above!

4. The surgeon will make a cut in your abdomen then make a second cut into your uterus.

 

Baby being born via Caesarean Section coming out

 

5. As the baby is pulled out you may feel tugging or pressure, a bit like rummaging through a suitcase’, but no pain.

6. The cord will be cut and the baby quickly checked before being handed to you.

7. You may be given antibiotics to prevent infection, and oxytocin to shrink your uterus.

8. The placenta will be removed and you will be stitched. If the baby is healthy, your husband will be able to hold him.

 

Mother with her newborn baby at the hospital a day after

 

9. After a little while, you will be taken to your room. You will be encouraged to take your first difficult steps within hours, not days, to speed up your recovery.

10. You will be given painkillers, and the first few days may be rather trying. Your internal stitches will be dissolvable ones and the external stitches will be removed around day five.

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