A C-section is the delivery of a baby through incisions made in a mother’s abdomen and uterus. The procedure usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour to perform. If your OB/GYN decides that you require a C-section after you start out in a labor and delivery room, you’ll be moved to an operating room.
After you’re given an epidural or spinal block to numb you from the chest down, your abdomen will be cleared and prepared, you’ll receive an IV for fluids and medicines, and a nurse will insert a catheter to drain the urine from your bladder. Then, your doctor will make two incisions. The first, which is about six-inches long, goes through your skin, fat, and muscle. The second is used to open the uterus.
A C-section delivery doesn’t take long. In fact, cleaning and repairing your uterus and abdomen takes more time than the C-section itself.
C-sections may be performed for a variety of medical reasons, each with the overall goal of achieving a safe delivery for both baby and mother. The likelihood of delivering by C-section increases with multiples: Women who are having twins are more likely to deliver by C-section, and those with triplets have an even greater chance of a C-section birth. Other common reasons that C-sections are performed include:
Most C-sections aren’t planned. Rather, they’re done in response to a problem that develops during normal labor and delivery.
Many women who have delivered by C-section want to know if it precludes them from having a vaginal birth in subsequent pregnancies. Vaginal birth after a C-section, commonly called VBAC, is a reasonable and safe choice for most women who have delivered by C-section, including some of those who have had more than one C-section. The type of incision you had during your C-section is a key factor in determining whether you can go through labor and vaginal delivery without rupturing the scar on your uterus. Ask your OB/GYN if VBAC is possible for you.
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