Cesarean Section is a surgical procedure performed to deliver babies.
Cesarean Section can be performed on an elective basis if there are any pregnancy-related complications or if the woman has had a prior Cesarean Section. Cesarean Section can also be performed on an emergency basis if vaginal delivery puts the baby and/or the mother at risk.
Cesarean Section is performed for the following reasons:
There are no absolute contraindications for performing a Cesarean Section, but the surgery is avoided in the following cases:
Tests that are performed before a Cesarean Section are:
If the Cesarean Section is performed electively:
Anesthesia: Caesarean Section can be performed under regional anesthesia or general anesthesia. Most cases are done under regional anesthesia, numbing only the lower part of the body allowing the mother to remain awake during the procedure.
Duration: Caesarean Section takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.
An IV line is placed on the arm for intravenous fluids. Blood pressure and heart rate are monitored throughout the procedure. A urinary catheter is placed to drain the urine. The skin over the abdomen is cleaned with an antiseptic solution. A 15 cm long incision is made in the lower abdomen. The incision can be either horizontal near the pubic hairline or vertical from the navel down to the pubic bone. In most cases, the incision is performed horizontally. The abdomen is opened layer by layer. After reaching the abdominal cavity, the uterus is opened up using a low transverse incision. The incision on the uterus can also be made horizontally or vertically depending upon the baby’s position and the position of the placenta. The baby is delivered through the incision. The mouth and nose of the baby are suctioned. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut. The placenta is removed from the uterus. The uterus is checked for any blood clots or debris. Saline irrigation is done. The uterus is closed with dissolvable sutures. The abdominal skin incision is closed with sutures and stitches. Sterile dressings are applied to the incision site.
Postoperatively after a Cesarean Section:
Recovering from the Cesarean Section takes longer than vaginal birth.
Aftercare instructions include the following:
Complications associated with Cesarean Section are:
Childbirth through the Cesarean Section is increasing globally. The prognosis of the Cesarean Section depends on whether it is performed electively or emergently. The prognosis of the emergency Cesarean Section is poor. Maternal death after delivery is high in Cesarean Sections rather than in vaginal delivery. Postpartum infection is the main cause of maternal death after a C-section. However, the use of antibiotic prophylaxis has decreased the risk of infection. Survival of both mother and baby has improved in recent years, making Cesarean Section a common method of childbirth. In recent times, efforts are being made to improve the access of C-section as well as to reduce the use of C-section.
Cesarean Section is done in hospital settings and requires hospitalization for 3 to 4 days.
Vaginal delivery after a prior Cesarean Section is also possible. With a Cesarean Section, a woman can give birth only to two or three children. Cesarean Section is also performed on maternal requests even without any medical necessity to have surgery. However, an elective Cesarean Section should not be done before 39 weeks of gestation.