Afterward she will break the amniotic sac, if it is not already broken, and allow some fluid to escape. She'll then gently put her hand in to lift the baby out through the incision, headfirst. The tugging and pushing you may feel occur as the head emerges through the incision and the surgical assistant is pushing at the top of your uterus to expel the baby. The doctor will clamp and cut the cord, then hand the baby to a pediatrician or skilled nurse who will examine the baby immediately and then wrap her up and hand her to your partner.
After delivering your baby, your doctor will bring the placenta out through the same incision; then she'll massage your uterus. The actual delivery of your baby will happen only 10-15 minutes after the start of the procedure. The rest of the surgery--stitching up the two incisions and getting you into recovery--takes approximately 30 minutes more. Throughout the procedure you won't feel much more than tugging or pulling sensations.
After a cesarean, you'll be taken to a recovery room where your blood pressure, bleeding, pulse rate, and respiration will all be monitored. The catheter may remain in for about 12-24 hours after surgery, and you'll continue to get fluids through an IV until the next day. You may stay in bed the first day, though you'll be encouraged to change positions, roll over, and sit up in bed. You should be able to breastfeed your baby by laying a pillow across your abdomen to help support him in your arms as he nurses, and you should be walking within 24 hours. Your doctor will give you pain medication for discomfort, and you will be released from the hospital in about 3 or 4 days.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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