There’s nothing more exciting than meeting your baby for the first time — no matter how your baby enters the world. In the US, about one-third of all babies arrive through cesarean delivery (C-section).
This surgical procedure involves delivering your baby through your abdomen instead of the vaginal birth canal. In some cases, a C-section may be planned well in advance of the baby’s due date. Other times, this surgery may become necessary once labor is underway.
The board-certified OB/GYNs at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG in Las Vegas, Nevada, offer obstetrics care to help women during all stages of pregnancy, from preconception counseling and infertility treatment through care after your baby’s delivery.
If you’re pregnant and are worried a C-section could be in your future, take a moment to learn more about the surgery and when it might be necessary to safely deliver your baby.
What makes a C-section necessary?
While there are a variety of reasons C-sections are performed, generally speaking, our team delivers via C-section when a surgical delivery is the safest option for you or your baby. For example, your Darin Swainston, MD. FACOG provider may recommend a C-section if:
- You’re delivering more than one baby
- Your labor isn’t progressing
- Your baby enters a state of medical distress
- You have placenta previa (the placenta covers your cervix)
- The umbilical cord goes through the birth canal before your baby (prolapsed umbilical cord)
- A medical or health condition makes vaginal delivery dangerous for you or your baby
- You’ve had a C-section before
- You have a large fibroid or other obstruction that makes vaginal delivery difficult
Your provider may also recommend a C-section if your baby has an especially large head for the size of the birth canal.
What’s involved with a cesarean delivery?
Whether or not you have a C-section planned, understanding what happens during and after the procedure can help put you at ease should a cesarean delivery be necessary. Here’s a look at what you can expect.
What to expect during a C-section
C-sections are generally performed using local anesthesia, which means you’ll be alert and awake during the procedure. You won’t feel any pain; however, the lower part of your body is numbed, typically using an epidural or spinal block.
In emergencies, your provider may administer general anesthesia for the health and safety of you and your baby.
You can expect to receive an intravenous (IV) line to give you any required medications and to keep you hydrated. You’ll also get a catheter to collect urine during and after your surgery. To block your view of the incision and surgery, the surgical team puts a screen near your face.
Once you’re numb, your Darin Swainston MD. FACOG provider creates an incision through the walls of your abdomen and uterus. You will likely feel some pressure, but no pain. Your provider then opens your amniotic sac and removes your baby.
The nursing staff then takes the baby for evaluation and cleaning while your provider closes the uterus and abdomen with staples or sutures. Most women can hold their baby in the delivery room before moving to recovery.
What to expect after a C-section
Immediately after your cesarean, you’ll be moved to recovery. There you’re monitored for bleeding and other complications, and you’ll get antibiotics to minimize your risk of infection.
As with all surgeries, you can expect some discomfort as you recover. While in the recovery room, the team administers pain medication through your IV to help keep you comfortable as the local anesthesia wears off.
You can plan to spend between 3-5 days in the hospital before returning home. In the weeks following your C-section, here are some things you can expect to experience:
- Afterpains, or uterine cramps: These pains occur after both vaginal and C-section deliveries and help control bleeding after childbirth; over the counter (OTC) medications like acetaminophen can help ease your discomfort.
- Vaginal discharge: It’s normal to have some vaginal bleeding or spotting for several weeks after your baby is born, even when delivered via C-section.
- Belly soreness: It’s normal to have some belly pain and soreness as your muscles around the incision site heal; most women manage their discomfort with OTC pain medications.
- Limited activity: For 4-8 weeks after your C-section, you’ll need to limit your physical activity and avoid lifting anything that weighs more than your baby.
If your incision becomes red, leaks discharge, or swells, or if your pain worsens, you experience heavy bleeding, or if you develop a fever, be sure to contact your Darin Swainston MD. FACOG provider right away.
To learn more about cesarean deliveries, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG in Las Vegas, Nevada.