Cesarean Section

Cesarean birth is the delivery of a baby through an incision made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.  The following situations are some of the reasons why a cesarean birth is performed:

Cesarean Section

Cesarean birth is the delivery of a baby through an incision made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.  The following situations are some of the reasons why a cesarean birth is performed:

  • Failure of labor to progress—Contractions may not open the cervixenough for the baby to move into the vagina. 
  • Concern for the baby—For instance, the umbilical cordmay become pinched or compressed or fetal monitoring may detect an abnormal heart rate. 
  • Multiple pregnancy—If a woman is pregnant with twins, a cesarean birth may be necessary if the babies are being born too early, are not in good positions in the uterus, or if there are other problems. 
  • Problems with the placenta
  • A very large baby 
  • Breech presentation
  • Maternal medical conditions, such as diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure 

Frequently Asked Questions

Women who have had one cesarean birth before may be able to give birth vaginally. The decision depends on the type of incision used in the previous cesarean delivery, the number of previous cesarean deliveries, whether you have any conditions that make a vaginal delivery risky, as well as other factors.  We will talk to you about your options during your prenatal visits.

Yes.  Some women may request a cesarean birth even if a vaginal delivery is an option. This decision should be weighed carefully and the pros and cons discussed. As with any surgery, there are risks and complications to consider. Your hospital stay may be longer than with vaginal birth. Also, the more cesarean births a woman has, the greater her risk for some medical problems and problems with future pregnancies.

Generally, you can hold your baby skin to skin within minutes of the baby being delivered. You will also be able to begin breastfeeding right away.  After the surgery is done, you will be taken directly to your room where your blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing rate, amount of bleeding, and abdomen will be checked regularly.  You may need to stay in bed for a while. The first few times you get out of bed, a nurse or other adult should help you.  The abdominal incision will be sore for the first few days. You will be given oral pain medications to control the pain and allow you to walk and take care of your baby.  You usually stay in the hospital for 3 days but can be from 2–4 days.

While you recover, the following things are expected and normal:

  • Mild cramping, especially if you are breastfeeding 
  • Bleeding or discharge for about 4–6 weeks 
  • Pain in the incision 

To prevent infection, for 6 weeks after the cesarean birth you should not place anything in your vagina or have sex. Allow time for your body to heal before doing any strenuous activity. Call us if you have a fever, heavy bleeding, or the pain seems to be getting worse. 

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