What is a C-section?
A C-section or cesarean section is a surgical procedure done in the operating room. A small incision is made in the lower abdomen and uterus to deliver a baby.
Why do I need a C-section?
C-sections are preformed for a couple of reasons. There are planned and unplanned C-sections. Planned C-sections are done if a patient who has had a previous C-section decides to skip labor and have another C-section. They are also done if the baby is in the wrong position -- breech or bottom down, transverse or sideways, or if the placenta or blood supply to the baby is covering the cervix. Unplanned C-sections occur during labor. If at anytime during labor there is concern about the baby's heartbeat or how well the baby is tolerating labor, we will elect to do a C-section. If mom's cervix isn't dilating or she continues to push but isn't able to deliver the baby vaginally, then we will proceed with a C-section.
What should I expect with a C-section?
You will be awake for the entire procedure. We will make sure you are comfortable and numb from the uterus down. You will feel some tugging, pulling, and light pressure during the procedure, but you will not feel any pain. An incision is made in the lower abdomen. The doctor will actually separate the abdominal muscles-they are not cut. An incision is made in the uterus to deliver the baby. Once the baby is delivered, the incision will be closed with dissolvable stitches. You will go to a recovery room for a short period of time and then up to a postpartum room. The entire time we will make sure you are comfortable with any pain medication you might need. You will be back to your normal activity in a couple of weeks.
What are the risks of a C-section?
There are risks with any surgery. There's a small risk of complications from anesthesia. There's a small risk the bowel or bladder may be damaged during the procedure. Any time an incision is made, there's also a small risk of bleeding issues. These risks are minimal.