A Cesarean delivery, also known as a C-section, is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby through the mother’s abdomen rather than a vaginal delivery. A C-section can be scheduled ahead of time to avoid a complicated delivery or if you’ve had a previous C-section in the past. It is not uncommon for a first-time C-section to not become obvious until labor is already underway.
A C-section can sometimes be a safer option for delivering your baby than a vaginal delivery. Your health care provider will discuss the information with you but might recommend a C-section if:
If you're considering a planned C-section for your first delivery, it is best to work with your health care provider to discuss the best decision for you and your baby. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can help you better prepare.
Before you have your C-section, your abdomen will be cleansed. You might be given an antacid to calm your stomach and reduce the risk of it getting upset during the procedure. Most C-sections are done under regional anesthesia, commonly spinal block, to numb the lower part of your body. The doctor will make an incision through your abdominal wall, usually near the pubic hairline, and the baby will be delivered through this incision. After a C-section, it is common for mothers and babies to stay in the hospital for two to three days.
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