What is a caesarean birth?
A Caesarean birth is one where a baby is born through a cut in the mother’s belly. This requires an anaesthetic which could either be a spinal anaesthetic ( given through a needle in the back to numb the belly and legs, “awake anaesthetic” where you remain awake and your support person can be present with you in the operating theatre for the birth of your baby.
When is a caesarean birth required?
Caesarean birth could be planned or elective which means it is known during your pregnancy that you will need birth via caesarean section, and this is usually performed after 39 weeks. This may be because you have had a previous caesarean birth, your baby is not lying head down, the placenta is lying low inside the uterus, twin pregnancy (if first twin is not coming headfirst). Apart from these, there are many other reasons why you may need a planned caesarean delivery.
Emergency Caesarean section is done during labour, either because the progress of labour is inadequate, or the labour has obstructed, or the baby is getting distressed and not coping with the stress of labour.
What are the complications of a caesarean section?
Caesarean Section is generally a safe and a commonly performed operation. However, there are certain uncommon complications that could occur during or after a caesarean section. These include
- Damage to organs like the bowel/bladder that like close to the uterus
- Blood clots
- Reaction to anaesthetic
- Risks in future pregnancies (repeat caesarean section, morbidly adherent placenta)
What should I expect after a caesarean section?
- You will not be mobile for 8-10 hours after the operation
- You will need regular pain medications for a few days
- You will have a drip in your arm and be given fluids through it
- You will have a tube/catheter going into your bladder to avoid retention of urine. This is usually removed the following day
- You will be in the hospital for the next 2-3 days
- The recovery takes 4-6 weeks and you will need support at home during this time. You will not be able to lift heavy weight, climb too many flight of stairs or drive your car during this time.