Caesarean Section

Caesarean Section

Caesarean section, sometimes referred to as abdominal birth is an operative birth of baby. There are different grades and reasons for caesarean section birth. Sometimes, caesarean section is the type of birth preferred.

Caesarean Section is usually recommended if it is considered to be the safest option for mum or for baby, or both. This recommendation can be accepted or declined. Women can choose to have a caesarean birth if there is no medical reason but are likely to be advised against this. Health professionals must promote health, and therefore having unnecessary surgery should be explored. There is more risk and a more difficult recovery from birth if baby is born by caesarean section when compared to a spontaneous vaginal birth. However, a woman choosing to have her baby born by caesarean section will have her reasons and is completely within her right to do so. Health professionals involved in your care are required to explain all the risks and benefits, provide you with information and support your decision.

If you choose to have a caesarean section, this is called elective caesarean. If you planned to have a vaginal birth and for any reason you end up having a caesarean birth, this is called an emergency caesarean. There are grades to an emergency caesarean depending on level of urgency. All types of birth carry risks and benefits for mum and for baby. It is important to consider these risks and discuss your options with a midwife and/or obstetrician. Although you do not need to explain reasons for any decisions you make, it can be helpful to give healthcare professionals the opportunity to clarify any concerns you may have.

If it is safe and suitable, a spinal anaesthetic is usually recommended so you can be awake when your baby is born. This is similar to an epidural anaesthetic used for pain relief but has a stronger effect. You will not feel any pain from the incisions, but you will be aware of some pulling and pressure inside your body when baby is being born. If the spinal anaesthetic is unsuccessful or there is a concern for you and baby, you will be offered a general anaesthetic.

Caesarean birth is completed in an operative theatre. Once your baby is born and surgery is complete, you are transferred briefly to a recovery area.  In recovery, a nurse will continuously check your vital signs, and ensure you are not bleeding heavily. Once stable, you are then transferred to a postnatal ward. Depending on your surgery and recovery, you are assisted out of bed after six hours, and can be discharged as soon as 24hrs post birth if you and baby are both well. Your community midwife will visit you at home to continue to assess your recovery. The sutures used are commonly dissolvable, and the dressing can be removed at home by yourself or a midwife. Depending on other risk factors you may be advised to have anti-coagulant injections to prevent a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) along with compression socks and advice to mobilise and keep well hydrated. You will be able to carry and care for baby, but you will need help for a few weeks following surgery. Prescription only pain relief is usually provided on discharge, so it is best to buy over the counter pain relief to have at home. If you are considering a caesarean or have been offered a caesarean and wish to explore your options with support, please contact us at Beyond Midwives.

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