Cesarean Section: What You Should Know

A cesarean section (c-section) involves delivering the baby through an abdominal incision. Reasons for having a cesarean section include:

  • Failure of labor progression
  • Concern about the baby’s well-being
  • Twins or triplets
  • Breech presentation

Cesarean section is usually performed under spinal or epidural anesthesia, which numbs the patient from the waist down. The patient is awake during the surgery. This helps to decrease the amount of medications that pass over to baby. Some women may require general anesthesia for a c-section for certain medical reasons, but this will be determined by an anesthesiologist.

If you are having a scheduled cesarean section, it is important to prepare for surgery. It is important to make sure you are exercising and eating healthfully prior to your surgery, as this will help you maintain your strength in the hospital. Check with your doctor to make sure your medicines are safe to take around the time of surgery.

The night before your scheduled surgery, you must not have anything to eat or drink to reduce breathing complications associated with surgery. You will be given an IV with fluids before, during and after your surgery to keep you hydrated.

You will be able to get up and walk within the first 24 hours after delivery. Although you will be sore, walking helps to increase blood flow to the legs to prevent blood clots and helps the bowels regain normal function. You should take your pain medicine regularly while you are in the hospital.

Most women are able to go home 2-4 days after delivery. You will be given pain medication to go home with. It is important to stay active while still trying to get plenty of rest and recover. Your incision will heal in about 4-6 weeks.