What is Cesarean Delivery?

Are you making your birth plan? Then you must have though the two ways you could have our baby. Cesarean delivery is one of two ways, with the other being vaginal , commonly termed as normal delivery. Read more about vaginal delivery here. Cesarean delivery involves delivering a baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen. 

Reasons Why Cesarean is Considered

There are various medical reasons that could lead you to have a cesarean delivery. These are:

  • When labor is not progressing as expected and the cervix does not open big enough for hours.
  • When the fetus brain has excess fluid 
  • If the mother is expecting multiple babies (triplets, twins, etc)
  • If there is an emergency or severe concern during birth
  • When the infant is in a breech position
  • If the baby is too big to pass through the birth canal
  • If the mother has health concerns such as high blood pressure
  • If the mother had previously given birth through cesarean
  • If there is a contagious virus from the mother that can be passed through the
  • vagina during birth like HIV or herpes
  • If the placenta has anomalies
  • Uterine conditions experienced by the mother such as a fibroid that could obstruct the cervix
  • A personal choice whereby the mother could fear pain or experience anxiety
  • Social influence from family, friends or the media

Risks and Complications of Cesarean Delivery

Just like other surgeries, cesarean delivery has its own risks as well. These involve:

  • Surgical injury – Accidental injuries might happen to the baby during surgery although this is rare.
  • Breathing problems – Transient tachypnea, may be experienced whereby the baby will have abnormal fast breathing for a few days after birth.
  • Infection – A mother might be at a risk of an infection at the uterus lining (endometritis).
  • Blood clots – There could be chances of developing a blood clot on the deep vein especially in the pelvic organs or the legs. A blood clot may also travel to the lungs thus blocking the blood flow.
  • Postpartum hemorrhage – There can be heavy bleeding during and after birth.
  • High risks in future – potential risks of developing complications in future are high. For instance, the uterus can tear open at the scar line after a C-section.
  • Injuries – although it is rare, surgical accidents can occur whereby the bowel or bladder can be injured thus need for an additional surgery.
  • Anesthesia reaction – possible adverse reactions to anesthesia might be experienced by the mother.

Pain Management after a Cesarean Section

Whether you have undergone a spinal or epidural C-section, your anesthesiologist could possibly give you some pain relief through various options.

  •  Anesthesiologists might add morphine which is an excellent pain reliever. It can settle you down for 24 hours without feeling grogginess.
  • The epidural can be left in for at least 12 hours after surgery and thereafter more pain reliever can be given if need be.
  • Systematic pain killers, usually pills which contain acetaminophen and a narcotic can be administered as well.
  • A stool softener may also be recommended to counteract constipation.
  • Shots of painkillers can also be given every four hours.

If you feel uncomfortable, ensure you consult your nurse, anesthesiologists or obstetrician for help. This will enable easier breastfeeding and moving around.


#Please note that development differs from one child to another

# Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: medicalnewstoday, mayoclinic, babycenter

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