What is cesarean delivery? When is this procedure recommended? What is a typical recovery like? Discover three things you should know about cesarean delivery in this article.
Towards the end of your pregnancy, all of your friends and family may start asking you: “Natural birth or cesarean delivery?” While you should answer with whatever you and your gynecologist have decided, keep in mind that this may not be the final decision.
You may have numerous doubts after this question is asked. A discussion on the pros and cons of both natural birth and cesarean delivery will inevitably begin. This debate may cause you to question your own decision.
In this You Are Mom article, we’ll tell you three important facts about cesarean delivery.
Cesarean delivery, what is it?
Cesarean delivery is a surgical procedure that involves making an opening in the mother’s womb that reaches the uterus, where the baby is removed.
This procedure, performed with the woman awake, can be scheduled in advance or can be done in an emergency if unforeseen complications arise.
This intervention takes a maximum of one hour. Doctors will proceed to anesthetize the mother.
This can be done with a single dose of immediately effective spinal anesthesia, or an epidural provided gradually through a tube inserted in the back.
Once the mother is anesthetized from the chest to the feet, the surgeon makes an incision through the abdomen just above the pubic area.
This allows the surgeon to open the womb and the amniotic sac to finally be able to remove the baby. Then the baby‘s nose and mouth are cleaned and their umbilical cord is cut.
The neonatal team will check that the baby’s breathing is normal and that other vital signs are stable. Meanwhile, the obstetrician will remove the placenta and then close the incisions.
The mother can see and even have her baby in her arms immediately in the delivery room.
When is a cesarean delivery performed?
There are several reasons why a pregnant woman can have a cesarean section instead of vaginal delivery.
The gynecologist or obstetrician will decide the mode of delivery, taking into account not only the health and position of the baby but also the woman’s previous births and her medical history.
Doctors can decide on a cesarean delivery in an emergency or they can have it scheduled in advance.
When to schedule cesarean delivery:
- If you previously had a “classic” cesarean with a vertical uterine cut (infrequent) or more than one cesarean. These are both factors that may increase the risk of a uterine rupture during vaginal delivery.
- If you have undergone any other uterine surgery, such as a myomectomy (removal of fibroids).
- When the child is positioned buttocks first or is on its side.
- You can have a cesarean delivery if the baby has a disease or fetal anomaly that puts you at risk from vaginal delivery.
- When you’re expecting more than one baby. Some twins may be born by vaginal delivery. If triplets or more babies are on the way, a cesarean delivery will be necessary.
- If you’re expecting a very large baby, especially when you’re diabetic, or if you had another baby of equal or smaller size that suffered serious trauma during vaginal delivery.
- If placenta expulsion is down in the uterus, covering the cervix.
- When an obstruction, such as a fibroid, complicates the vaginal delivery.
Emergency cesarean delivery
- When the placenta prematurely detaches from the uterine wall.
- When the uterus doesn’t continue dilating normally or the baby doesn’t descend through the birth canal, and dilation is not resuming.
- The baby’s basal heart rate is not encouraging to the doctor.
- When there is a prolapsed umbilical cord that slides down the cervix and can cut off the baby’s oxygen supply.
Recovery and care after a cesarean delivery
After cesarean delivery, the mother’s slow recovery requires great care: her hospitalization lasts 4 days. It is imperative to take care of the scar to avoid infections.
Resting at home for four weeks is also necessary. Therefore, having someone help care for you and your baby is a great idea.
Initially you’ll feel pain when sneezing, coughing or doing anything that involves pressure on the abdomen.
Stay calm and use your hands or a pillow to hold the incision when you laugh, cough or sneeze. This discomfort will pass quickly and your baby will be worth all the pain.
You may also feel discomfort due to the buildup of gas two days after the cesarean delivery.
This is because the intestines take a while to adjust after surgery. Walking a few laps in the hallway can help your digestive system get back into action.
The doctors will likely prescribe something to help with the pain and help heal the body. They will likely also advise you to stay hydrated to avoid constipation.
With time you’ll see that this small incision will become imperceptible. Any discomfort will only be a memory of the battle that brought you the greatest joy.