By Dr. Surekha P. Mathkar, Gynaecology
Babies can enter this world in one of two ways: Pregnant women can have either a vaginal birth or a surgical delivery by Caesarean section, but the ultimate goal is to safely give birth to a healthy baby.
A C-section or Caesarean section is a surgical procedure to remove the baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen and then a second incision in the uterus.
A C-section may be necessary for certain situations, such as delivering a very large baby in a mother with a small pelvis, or if the baby is not in a head-down position and efforts to turn the baby before a woman gives birth have been unsuccessful.
Sometimes the decision by an obstetrician to perform a C-section is unplanned, and it is done for emergency reasons because the health of the mother, the baby, or both of them is in jeopardy. This may occur because of a problem during pregnancy or after a woman has gone into labor, such as if labor is happening too slowly or if the baby is not getting enough oxygen.
Some C-sections are considered elective, meaning they are requested by the mother for non-medical reasons before she goes into labor. A woman may choose to have a C-section if she wants to plan when she delivers or if she previously had a complicated vaginal delivery.
Reasons for a C-section may include-
- Health problems in the mother
- The mother carrying more than one baby
- The size or position of the baby
- The baby’s health is in danger
- Labor is not moving along as it should
The surgery is relatively safe for mother and baby. Still, it is major surgery and carries risks. It also takes longer to recover from a C-section than from vaginal birth. It can raise the risk of having difficulties with future pregnancies. Some women may have problems attempting a vaginal birth later. Still, many women are able to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
How You Might Feel-
You won’t feel any pain during the C-section, although you may feel sensations like pulling and pressure. Most women are awake and simply numbed from the waist down using regional anesthesia during a C-section.
That way, they are awake to see and hear their baby being born. A curtain will be over your abdomen during the surgery, but you may be able to take a peek at your baby is being delivered from your belly.
However, women who need to have an emergency C-section occasionally require general anesthesia, so they’re unconscious during the delivery and won’t remember anything or feel any pain.
Recovering from a C-section-
After a C-section, a woman may spend two to four days in the hospital, but it may take her up to six weeks to feel more like herself again.
Her abdomen will feel sore from the surgery and the skin and nerves in this area will need time to heal. Women will be given narcotic pain medications to take the edge off any post-surgery pain, and most women use them for about two weeks afterward.
A woman may also experience bleeding for about four to six weeks after a surgical birth. She is also advised to not have sex for a few weeks after her C-section and to also avoid strenuous activities, such as lifting heavy objects.