The Cesarean Section Procedure

A cesarean section, also known as a c-section, is a method used to surgically deliver a baby. It is considered to be a major surgery. A cesarean can be planned but more often it is performed as an emergency procedure when complications arise during a vaginal birth. Although there is some controversy over the necessity of cesareans, delivering a baby by cesarean can sometimes be safer for a mother and her baby.

The Procedure
A cesarean involves a surgeon making a horizontal incision in your stomach and uterus, usually just above the pubic hairline. Your baby is then lifted out through this incision. However, prior to the actual surgery, there are a number of steps taken to ensure the safety of the procedure.

First, your abdomen will be cleaned and possibly shaven with an antiseptic solution. You will also have a catheter inserted to empty your bladder.

Next, you will receive an I.V. in your arm or hand to make sure you have enough fluids and medication throughout the procedure. You will also receive either a general anesthetic, which will render you completely unconscious for the entire surgery, or a local anesthetic, which will numb only part of you while you remain alert throughout the cesarean. You will not be able to see the procedure yourself since you will have surgical drapes arranged just above the surgery site, blocking your view. If you have a partner joining you during the delivery, they will be suited up in sterile medical gowns and may watch the surgery if they wish.

After Birth
Once the baby is delivered, its nose and mouth will be suctioned and the umbilical cord will be clamped and cut. The doctor will then remove the placenta.

Your uterus will be sewn shut with dissolvable stitches while your stomach will be closed with either stitches or staples.

After the birth, you and your baby will be moved to another room where you will continue to be monitored and cared for.

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