Cesarean Sections

Performing a cesarean delivery

The anesthesiologist will explain the different pain medications available. Most use an epidural, a spinal block, or a combined spinal-epidural block; these will leave you awake but numb from below your breasts to your toes. You can discuss the possibility of having a small amount of morphine in your spinal or epidural as well; this may help control pain after the procedure for up to 24 hours.

Once you have anesthesia, the nurse will put a catheter in your bladder to drain urine before surgery begins; this lowers the risk of injuring your bladder during the procedure and makes it easier to deliver the baby. She'll then shave the lower part of your abdomen and clean your belly with antiseptic solution.

The doctor will drape you with sterile sheets and put up a low screen across your chest to prevent you from seeing the surgery; however, in some institutions, you're allowed to have a mirror or you can request that your view not be blocked.

If your partner wants to accompany you to the operating room, he will have to put on hospital scrubs, booties, and a mask. He will sit beside your head, so he can talk with you, hold your hand, and give you support during the procedure.

For most cesareans, the doctor will make a horizontal incision in your abdomen along your bikini line; in some emergency situations the cut will be made from your navel down to your pubic bone. The doctor will then make another horizontal or vertical incision in your uterus, depending on the position of the baby and the placenta.

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