What to expect from a caesarean section delivery

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What to expect from a caesarean section delivery

A caesarean section delivery, or c-section, is a surgical procedure that involves delivering a baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. It is usually done when a vaginal delivery is not possible or safe for the mother or the baby. In this blog, we will discuss some of the reasons for a c-section, the benefits and risks of the procedure, and what to expect before, during, and after the surgery.


Reasons for a C-section

There are many reasons why a doctor may recommend a c-section, either as a planned or an emergency procedure. Some of the common reasons are:

  • The baby is in a breech position (bottom-down) or a transverse position (sideways) and cannot be turned.
  • The baby is in distress and shows signs of low oxygen levels or abnormal heart rate.
  • The baby is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis or has a condition that affects the size or shape of the head.
  • The mother has a health problem that makes a vaginal delivery risky, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or bleeding disorders.
  • The mother has a placenta problem, such as placenta previa (the placenta covers the cervix) or placental abruption (the placenta separates from the uterus).
  • The mother has a previous c-section or other surgery on the uterus that increases the risk of uterine rupture.
  • The mother has an active genital herpes infection or HIV that could be transmitted to the baby during a vaginal delivery.
  • The mother has multiple babies (twins, triplets, or more) and there are complications with their positions or health.
  • The labour is not progressing normally or there are signs of infection or foetal distress.


Benefits of C-section

A C-section can be a lifesaving procedure for both the mother and the baby in some situations. However, it also has some potential benefits and risks that should be weighed carefully. Some of the benefits are:

  • It can reduce the risk of birth injuries or trauma to the baby, especially if the baby is large, premature, or has a birth defect.
  • It can prevent the transmission of some infections from the mother to the baby, such as HIV or herpes.
  • It can allow the mother to have more control over the timing and circumstances of the delivery, especially if it is a planned c-section.
  • It can avoid the pain and complications of prolonged or difficult labour, such as tears, haemorrhoids, or urinary incontinence.


Risks of C-section

  • It can increase the risk of infection, bleeding, blood clots, or injury to the mother’s organs, such as the bladder, bowel, or uterus.
  • It can increase the risk of complications in future pregnancies, such as morbidly adherent placenta (placenta accreta, increta and percreta) or uterine rupture.
  • It can delay the initiation of breastfeeding and bonding with the baby, as the mother may need more time to recover from the surgery and the anaesthesia.
  • It can affect the baby’s respiratory function and immune system, as the baby may not benefit from the hormonal and physiological changes that occur during a vaginal delivery.


What to expect before, during, and after C-section

If you are scheduled for a planned c-section, you will need to prepare for the surgery by following your doctor’s instructions. You may need to fast for a few hours before the surgery, take some medications, or have some tests done. You will also need to arrange for someone to drive you to and from the hospital and to help you with your baby and household chores after the surgery.

If you are having an emergency c-section, you may not have much time to prepare, but you should still follow your doctor’s advice and try to stay calm and positive. You will be taken to the operating room as soon as possible and given anaesthesia, either a spinal or an epidural, that will numb your lower body but keep you awake and alert. In some cases, you may need general anaesthesia that will put you to sleep.

After the surgery, you will be moved to a recovery room where you will be monitored for any signs of complications. You may feel some pain, discomfort, or nausea, but you will be given painkillers and anti-nausea medications to help you cope. You will also be encouraged to get up and walk as soon as you can to prevent blood clots and speed up your healing. You will be able to hold and feed your baby as soon as you feel ready.

You will usually stay in the hospital for three to four days after a c-section, depending on your condition and your baby’s health. You will need to take care of your incision site by keeping it clean and dry and avoiding any infection. You will also need to avoid lifting anything heavy, driving, or having sex for at least six weeks after the surgery. You will need to follow up with your doctor regularly and report any signs of fever, bleeding, or discharge from your incision.



A C-section is a major surgery that can have both benefits and risks for you and your baby. It is important to discuss your options and preferences with your doctor and to be well-informed about the procedure and its outcomes. A c-section can be a safe and positive experience if you are prepared and supported by your healthcare team and your loved ones. 

It is a common and sometimes necessary way of delivering a baby when a vaginal delivery is not possible or safe. It has some advantages and disadvantages for both the mother and the baby, and it requires careful preparation and recovery. A C-section can be a positive and rewarding experience if the mother is well-informed, supported, and respected by her healthcare team and her loved ones.