What is a c-section?
A C-section, also known as a caesarean section, is a surgical procedure that involves the birth of a baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus.
Reasons for c-section birth
Medical conditions: You have a chronic illness that makes vaginal delivery risky, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease (and a caesarean birth is safer).
Infections: If you have uncontrolled HIV (those with controlled HIV with undetectable viral load can choose to deliver vaginally) or an active genital herpes infection around your vagina, vulva, you must have a scheduled C-section because both viruses can be transmitted to your baby during delivery.
Baby’s health: An illness or a congenital problem may make your baby’s already risky passage through the birth canal much more hazardous.
Large baby: Sometimes your baby is too big (a condition known as macrosomia) to leave your body safely through the vaginal canal.
Breech position: When your baby is in a breech position, either feet-first or bottom-first, and can not be turned, your practitioner may determine that a C-section is necessary.
Twins / Triplets: The surgery becomes more likely as the number of babies increases, especially if one or both babies are not facing head down.
Placental problems: A C-section is likely to be safer for you and your baby if the placenta is partially or totally obstructing the cervical opening (placenta previa) or has split from the uterine wall (placental abruption).
Fibroids or pelvic trauma: If you have a huge fibroid that clogs the birth canal or a history of pelvic damage, your baby may be unable to pass through the birth canal, necessitating a C-section.
Age: Being older does not ensure a caesarean, but it does enhance your chances.
Body mass index: Being extremely overweight or obese increases your chances of needing a C-section delivery, partially due to the various risk factors .
Other complications: If you develop preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure) or eclampsia (a very rare progression of preeclampsia that affects the central nervous system and causes seizures) and medication is ineffective, your doctor may recommend a C-section .
Foetal distress: If your doctor feels that you are becoming too weary, or if the foetal monitor detects signals of your baby being in trouble, she may choose to perform a caesarean section.
What is the procedure for c-section, and how long does it take?
In most situations, the doctor creates a 4 to 6 inch horizontal incision in the lower abdomen, then makes an incision in the uterine wall and delivers the baby through that opening. If everything goes as planned, the process should take around an hour. In most cases, the infant can be delivered in 10 to 15 minutes, or even faster in an emergency. The uterus and the various layers of the abdomen are meticulously stitched up once the baby is delivered. This stitching takes longer than the delivery and takes up the majority of the operation time.
Myths about c-section
Myth 1: Having a c-section once guarantees you’ll have to get another one the next time.
Fact: This is completely false. Several ladies have undergone c-sections on their first deliveries. They had a regular delivery the second time. In terms of adverse effects, the second time you have a normal birth, you may encounter scar rupture.
Myth 2: You can’t walk for weeks after having a c-section.
Fact: Although you may experience pain after a c-section, it is not so severe that you cannot walk for a few days. If you have difficulties walking, it is best to rest for a while and allow the scar to heal.
Myth 3: C-sections are painless.
Fact: Because of the influence of anaesthesia during birth and for a few hours thereafter, you may not feel any discomfort. However, once its effect has worn off, you will feel pain for at least 10 days.
Myth 4: Women who have a c-section do not have vaginal bleeding.
This is a widespread misunderstanding. Women who have had a c-section have vaginal bleeding as well, but this is due to their uterus healing from the placental separation and attempting to return to its normal shape.
Reasons for a planned caesarean section
There are various reasons why you and your obstetrician may decide on an elective (planned) caesarean birth.
- Your infant is bottom-first or feet-first (breech) and cannot be turned.
- The placenta has obstructed your cervix (womb opening) (this is known as placenta previa).
- The doctor is unable to turn your baby since he is lying sideways (transverse).
- You’re expecting twins or multiples, with the first baby positioned bottom or feet first.
Reasons for an unplanned caesarean section
The following are some of the reasons for an unplanned (emergency) caesarean birth:
- During labour, your baby’s head does not move down or “fit” through your pelvis.
- Your labour does not advance because your contractions are insufficiently forceful and your cervix opens slowly or not at all.
- After the ruptured umbilical cord, which supplies vital nutrients and oxygenated blood to your baby, has prolapsed through the cervix and into the vagina.
- A medical condition, such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, increased thyroid levels etc makes labour more risky for you and your baby.
Reasons for an unplanned caesarean section
- Loss of blood
- Clots of blood in the legs, pelvis, or lungs
- Injuries to nearby structures, such as the gut or bladder
Your healing period will be longer than for a normal vaginal delivery, and you will be subjected to some physical restrictions during the weeks-long healing process (e.g., not lifting anything heavier than your baby). Your medical team will discuss the signs of infection and how to avoid them, as well as additional postoperative care.
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