For most mothers-to-be, the idea of having to go through a cesarean section (C-section) for the birth of their child is far from what they envisioned. In the united states alone, 32% of childbirths are through a C-section, meaning 1 in 3 births are through a Cesarean section procedure. Hence, even if you do not plan to have a C-section, it's good to learn what is involved in case something changes along the way and the doctor decides you'd have to deliver through this route.
Why you might need a C-section
There are number of reasons why your doctor might suggest a C-section as opposed to vaginal birth. You can read all about this here
What you can expect
Most C-sections may involve the steps below;
1. Preparation from home - If your C-section procedure was scheduled, you might be asked by your doctor to have a shower with an antiseptic soap on the day of the procedure. You should not shave the hair on your pubic area 24 hours prior to the procedure as this could increase the risk of an infection from the procedure.
2. When at the hospital (Before procedure)
· Your abdomen will be shaved and washed with an antiseptic solution
· To collect urine, a catheter will be inserted into your bladder.
· For fluids and medication, IV lines will be inserted in a vein in your arm.
· You'd be given anesthesia. You may be given either a regional anesthesia or a general anesthesia. A regional anesthesia numbs only the lower part of your body and allows you to remain awake during the procedure. Could either be a spinal anesthetic or an epidural. The spinal anesthetic numbs the entire lower region of the body while an epidural anesthetic numbs the nerves that lead to the region of the spinal cord where the anesthetic was injected. Unlike the regional anesthetics, the general anesthesia places the mother unconscious.
3. The procedure
The doctor will start by making an incision. It would either be a vertical incision or just below the navel to the top of the pubic bone or more frequently, a horizontal incision is done across or just above the pubic bone. the doctor will then make another incision in the lower part of your uterus. Once the uterus is open, the doctor will rupture the amniotic sac if it is still intact and deliver the baby. The doctor will then clamp and cut out the umbilical cord, gently remove the placenta and tightly suture the uterus and abdomen.
Recovery will take longer than a vaginal birth would usually take, so you'd need to be patient. Full recovery may take up to 6 - 8 weeks and your scar will become lighter as it heals.
. You'd likely stay in the hospital for about 3-4 days after the procedure, where you'd be monitored to ensure an adequate healing process.
· The doctor may advice you take a lot of fluids to prevent constipation.
· You'd also be encouraged to get out of bed and take little walks.
· You'd often be encouraged to breastfeed as soon as you feel you can.
· To facilitate your healing process, you'd need to get as much rest as you can when you get home.
· Avoid lifting heavy objects.
· Keep an eye on the incision.
· Discuss pain relief medications with your doctor to help with the pains and discomfort you'd feel.
· It's also advised that you avoid sex for up to six weeks after the C-section to prevent infection.