Cesarean section (C-section)

Cesarean section or C-section, as it is commonly known as, refers to the surgical delivery of the baby through an incision made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. In some cases, a C-section is planned in advance, while in some others an emergency surgery may be needed due to some complications. C-section is generally performed only after 39 weeks unless complications arise forcing an emergency surgery. If it is a planned C-section, the baby is left in the womb until 39th week before opting for surgery.

Reasons for C-section

C-section is performed when vaginal birth is difficult due to complications or a risk for the mother or the fetus. Some of the common reasons for C-section are:

  • Multiple pregnancies – C-section may be needed for twins or more, if they are coming earlier than normal or if their position is not suitable for a vaginal The chances of cesarean section increase with an increase in the number of babies carried in the womb.
  • Baby is too large – this condition, known as macrosomia, often affects vaginal birth and doctor may recommend a C-section.
  • Breech position – If the baby is positioned in such a way that feet come first instead of the head, it is referred to as breech presentation. This calls for C-section to avoid risk.
  • The abnormal progress of labor – If the contractions do not open the cervix enough for the exit of the baby, surgical delivery is recommended.
  • Concern for the baby – pinching or compression of the umbilical cord or abnormal fetal heart rate that increases the risk for the baby calls for C-section.
  • Infections – in the presence of maternal infections like HIV or herpes that can be transmitted to the baby, Cesarean section is suggested.
  • Problems with the placenta – placental problems like placental abruption or placenta previa increases the risk for the fetus and hence surgical removal is opted for delivery.
  • Medical conditions – mother’s medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure are also reasons for C-section.
  • Fibroids – fibroids in the uterus that obstruct the movement of the baby makes vaginal birth difficult.
  • Malformation or abnormality of the baby – Fetal malformations affect normal vaginal birth difficult and hence C-section is recommended.

Preparations for C-section

While preparing for C-section, an intravenous line will be put on hand to administer medications and fluids during surgery. Medications are given to avoid infections. Abdomen and pubic area will be cleaned for the surgery. A urinary catheter may be placed to drain the bladder.

General anesthesia, epidural block, or spinal block is given for Cesarean section. Epidural block and spinal block numbs the lower half of the body and you will be conscious when the surgery is performed. With general anesthesia, you may not be awake during delivery. Some women may face complications like blood loss, infections, blood clots, bowel injury, or reactions to medications.

After the procedure

You may have to stay in bed for 2-4 days after the surgery. The urinary catheter will be removed immediately after the surgery. Pain medications are suggested for few days. You may have mild cramping, bleeding, and pain for few weeks.

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