What To Expect If You Have A C-Section Delivery

A cesarean birth is a surgical procedure used when a vaginal delivery is too risky. According to the CDC, C-sections account for approximately 30% of deliveries in the United States. It can be planned ahead of time or decided during a normal vaginal delivery if complications occur during labor. Either way, here is what to expect if you have a C-section delivery.

Mom holding baby after c-section.

Before A C-Section

Before the surgical procedure, your abdomen will be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized. They may shave some of your pubic hair to make the incision. A catheter will be placed into your bladder to collect urine during the surgery.

You will have an IV inserted into your hand or arm to give you fluids or needed medications, and your vital signs will be monitored throughout. 

The C-Section Surgery

You will receive regional anesthesia which will numb the lower part of your body via a spinal epidural. This way you will be awake during the procedure but you will have no pain.

You have the choice to observe the surgery as it is happening.

  • An incision is made in the abdomen several inches long.
  • Other internal incisions are made into the uterus.
  • All About Women OB/GYN cradles the baby’s head and lifts him/her out of the uterus.
  • The umbilical cord is cut and the placenta is removed.
  • The incisions are closed with sutures.

The entire procedure takes approximately 45 minutes. 

Recovery After A C-Section

Expect to spend 2 to 3 days in the hospital. Your pain will be monitored, and over-the-counter oral medications may be suggested once the epidural is removed.

You will be encouraged to move around and walk to prevent constipation and blood clots as well as to boost healing.

Once home you may experience symptoms including shivering, a backache, soreness or itching at the epidural site, nausea, swelling, and a headache.

Avoid walking up and down steps, lifting, exercise, or any strenuous activity for several weeks. You should also avoid sexual intercourse for six weeks after the procedure.

It will take 4 to 6 weeks for a full recovery.

If you notice any of the following, call All About Women OB/GYN right away.

  • A red or swollen incision
  • A fever
  • Having increasing pain
  • Pus or leaking discharge from the incision.
  • Heavy bleeding, severe cramping or pelvic pain

Contact All About Women OB/GYN at (703) 437-0001 immediately if you have any of the above symptoms or if you have additional questions about an upcoming C-section delivery.

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