What happens during a caesar?

Pre-operative procedure
Before the operation, a catheter will be inserted into the bladder enabling free flow of urine after the C/S. An intravenous line (drip) will be inserted into a vein to allow fluids and drugs to be given directly into the blood before and during the operation. Monitoring leads will be set up to measure the heart beat and blood pressure. The abdomen will also be swabbed with an anti-bacterial wash.

Pain relief
The patient will be given a regional or general anaesthesia. A regional anaesthetic block prevents the sensation of pain in a particular part of the body, while the patient remains awake. General anaesthesia prevents any pain sensation and relaxes the muscles while being asleep for the duration of the operation.

In the case of a scheduled C/S, or if the patient has not already received regional anaesthesia for labour, an epidural or a spinal block will probably be given. General anaesthesia will usually be given in the case of an emergency C/S. An emergency C/S may be performed when there is a sudden, serious threat to the motherĀ“s or baby's health.

After the birth, the regional anaesthetic block will help to keep the patient pain-free for a few hours, after which some other type of pain medication will be prescribed.

The caesarean section
The doctor makes an incision into the skin below the navel, enters through the abdominal wall and opens the lower part of the uterus. The most common kind of skin incision used is the transverse incision which goes across from left to right just above the pubic hair, also known as bikini cut. In the case of an emergency C/S, a sub-umbilical mid-line incision may be made which goes from just below the navel down to the pubic area allowing for faster access to the womb to save time.

After having opened the uterus, the doctor removes the baby by hand or, rarely, by forceps and clamps, and cuts the umbilical cord after which the baby is handed over to the paediatrician. Then, the placenta (afterbirth) and membranes of the birth sac are removed. The doctor repairs the uterus and closes the abdominal incision with sutures. The edges of the skin wound are sutured or stapled together.

It generally takes about five minutes from the time the initial incision is made until the baby is delivered. The rest of the surgery will take between 30 and 40 minutes, including repair.

Afterwards, the patient will be moved to the recovery room. Depending on the circumstance, the baby will join the mother or be moved to the nursery or to a neonatal intensive care unit.

Did you have a C-section?

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