What is a C-section?
Cesarean delivery, commonly known as C-section is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby by making an incision in the abdomen and uterus of the mother.
A C-section may be planned ahead of time or if you’ve had C-section before. Women who consider not having vaginal birth after cesarean are also for C-section. But most of the time, first time C-sections are only decided until labor is in progress.
Cesarean delivery is recommended if:
- Labor is not progressing – This is one of the most common reasons for a C-section. Stalled labor happens when the cervix is not opening enough for several hours despite of having strong, regular contractions or if the baby’s head is too big, it’s unable to pass through the vagina.
- The baby is not in the right position – C-section is considered the safest way to deliver the baby or babies is in breech position (feet or buttocks enter the birth canal first) or in transverse position (shoulder first).
- Multiple babies – C-section is recommended if the babies are to be born early or if there’s presence of problems.
- The baby is not getting enough oxygen – If the baby has been oxygen deprived during labor, C-section is the best option. C-section might also be the best option if there are changes noted in the baby’s heartbeat.
- A problem with the placenta – C-section is the safest way to deliver your baby if you have placenta previa (your placenta covers the opening of your cervix).
- Mechanical obstruction – Conditions such as severely displaced pelvic fracture, large fibroid which blocks the birth canal and hydrocephalus cause problems when giving birth. Doing a C-section is the best way with these conditions.
- An umbilical cord problem – When there’s a problem with the umbilical cord, it is best not to continue natural vaginal delivery. These problems include an umbilical cord compressed by the uterus during contractions and a loop of umbilical cord has slip through the cervix first instead of the baby.
- Previous C-section – Although it is possible for women who had previous C-section to have a vaginal delivery, doctors may still recommend a repeat C-section.
- The mother has a health problem – Moms who have heart problems or high blood pressure are encouraged to undergo C-section. If you have an infection such as HIV or herpes, C-section is also recommended so that the infection will not be passed to your baby in vaginal delivery.
What happens during the procedure?
C-section is performed via an epidural or spinal block which will put the lower half of your body numb while you’re awake.
Your doctor will make an incision in your lower abdomen just above the pubic hairline. Then, your doctor makes another incision in the lower part of the uterus. The cut to be made in the uterus can be a low transverse incision or a vertical cut.
A low transverse incision which is used in 95% of all C-sections is a cut across the lower area of the uterus. This incision results in less bleeding because the muscles are thinner at the bottom of the uterus.
A vertical cut on the other hand, is an incision made down the middle of the uterus. This is only required if the baby is in an unusual position or the baby is positioned low in the uterus.
When the amniotic fluid is suctioned out, you’ll finally see your baby.
When the cord is cut, your doctor will then remove your placenta and will check your reproductive organs. When everything’s okay, you’ll be stitched up afterwards.
Risks and Complications
C-sections are completely safe most of the time in which complications rarely happen.
Babies born via C-section may develop transient tachypnea – rapid breathing during the first few days after birth. This is caused by the fluid left in the lungs. There’s really nothing to be worried about since this resolves on its own.
Complications that can develop in you include:
- Wound infection
- Endometritis (inflammation and infection of the uterus lining),
- Increased bleeding
- Surgical injury
- Reactions to anesthesia
Recovering from a C-section is longer compared to a vaginal birth.