At A Glance: Cesarean Section
Tell Me About The Surgery
Procedure Research and Consultation
How is a cesarean section done?
When you have a C-section, a surgeon makes a three- to four-inch horizontal or vertical incision in your abdomen, just above your pubic hair line, and the muscles underneath are separated. A similar incision is made in your uterus, causing the amniotic sac surrounding your baby (or babies) to rupture and the baby is delivered. The umbilical cord is cut and the placenta is removed. In most cases, your baby (or babies) will be handed to you to hold following a short examination.
What issue does a cesarean section solve?
There are a variety of reasons your doctor might recommend a C-section, but one of the most common is stalled labor, when your cervix isn’t opening enough for the baby to get through. Other reasons include: Your baby is in distress. If there’s a concern about the heartbeat, a C-section might be recommended. You’ve had a C-section before. It’s possible to have a vaginal birth after your first C-section, but in some cases another C-section is safer for you and your baby. You have a health issue. Your doctor might recommend a C-section if you have a severe health problem or an active genetal herpes infection when you’re in labor. You’re carrying more than one baby and the leading baby is in an abnormal position. A C-section might also be recommended if you’re carrying triplets or more. Your baby is in an abnormal position. If the baby is breech, meaning his or her bottom or feet are entering the birth canal first, or in the transverse position, meaning she or he is positioned side or shoulder first, a C-section might be recommended. Your placenta is in an abnormal position, covering the opening of your cervix. This is called placenta previa, and when it occurs, a C-section is almost always recommended. Your baby’s umbilical cord is prolapsed. If a part of the umbilical cord slips through your open cervix into the vagina, ahead of your baby, a C-section will likely be recommended because this is dangerous to the baby. You have an obstruction. If your baby’s head is unusually large, you have a fibroid obstructing your birth canal, or your doctor detects another obstruction, a C-section might be recommended.
Do I have options for anesthesia for a cesarean section?
Most C-sections are done under regional anesthesia—an epidural block or a spinal block—so you can stay awake for the delivery and have a more direct experience during childbirth. This type of anesthesia will numb only the lower part of your body. If there’s an emergency, however, your surgical team might use general anesthesia.
How do I know a cesarean section is right for me?
A C-section is likely the best option when a vaginal delivery is deemed unsafe for you, your baby, or both. But you shouldn’t automatically assume you need a C-section because your baby is large, your labor is slow, or for convenience. Talk with your doctor about your options.
How safe is a cesarean section?
C-section is a safe procedure: About one-third of American births are by Cesarean. You should also know that Hancock Regional Hospital has been rated one of the safest hospitals in America by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit health care watchdog organization; and was named the safest hospital in Indiana on the Lown Institute Hospital Index.
What are possible side effects and complications of a cesarean section?
Possible complications include infection, postpartum hemorrhage, blood clots, damage to your internal organs, an increased risk of respiratory distress for your baby, and complications with future pregnancies. Also, after you have one C-section, there’s an increased chance that you will need to deliver future babies by the same method.
What are the possible side effects of regional anesthesia?
Some of the possible side effects of regional anesthesia include low blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, shivering, back pain, tingling in the lower part of your body, headache, and itching.
What are the possible side effects of general anesthesia?
Some possible side effects include nausea and vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, bruising (from the IV), itching, shivering and feeling cold, difficulty urinating, and sleepiness.
What are the alternatives to a cesarean section?
When you’re having a baby, the only alternative to having Cesarean surgery is a vaginal birth.
What are the risks of not having a cesarean section?
If your doctor recommends a cesarean delivery, consider that opting for a vaginal delivery could compromise the health and safety of you, your baby, or both.
What kind of outcome is typical for a cesarean section?
Most mothers and infants do well following a C-section. Also, having a cesarean for one delivery doesn’t mean you’ll have one for your subsequent deliveries.
Consultation and Choosing A Surgeon or Surgical Team
Do I need a referral to see a surgeon about a cesarean section?
Your OB/GYN physician will discuss C-sections with you and will be prepared to perform the surgery if necessary.
What should I bring to my first appointment with a surgeon to talk about a C-section?
Insurance information Medical records, including your medical history, from your primary care physician The most recent ultrasound image of your abdomen (Not sure where to go to get your ultrasound? Check out Gateway Hancock Health, where you’ll be able to get in and out quickly and pay, on average, 70% less than you’ll pay at a big-city hospital.)
Do I have to get a second or third opinion for a cesarean section?
You can always get a second or third opinion, but it isn’t required. In the case of an emergency C-section, your doctor might recommend that a quick decision, without a second opinion, is important for the health and safety of you, your baby, or both.
How should I decide which surgeon’s advice to follow?
You should work with the surgeon with whom you feel comfortable, whether that’s one of our surgeons or not.
Will the surgical team know my health history?
Your health history will be compiled and available to them before, during, and after surgery. If you’re a Hancock Health patient, we will be able to access your records within our system. If you aren’t, we will work with your doctors to get the necessary information.
Insurance & Cost
How much does a C-section cost?
Consult the Price Transparency Tool at HancockRegionalHospital.org for an idea of how much a C-section might cost.
Will insurance cover a cesarean section?
In most cases, insurance will cover most of the costs associated with your Cesarean section. To obtain your possible out-of-pocket expenses, use our Price Estimator Tool.
What are payment options like for a C-section at Hancock Health?
Hancock Health is committed to helping make great care affordable for all patients. To find out more about payment options, please visit the billing and insurance FAQ page at HancockRegionalHospital.org.
Pre-op and Day of Surgery
How should I prepare for a cesarean section?
The night before your C-section, you’ll shower at home with an antiseptic soap and you’ll be asked not to shave your pubic hair or abdomen. About eight hours before your C-section, you’ll be asked to stop eating solid foods. You’ll still be able to have clear liquids until two hours before the procedure, when you should stop eating and drinking everything. In the days before your procedure, your doctor might also recommend blood tests—these will provide your blood type and other information your surgical team will need if you require a blood transfusion, which is unlikely.
Why can’t I eat before a cesarean section?
There’s a risk of aspiration, which means breathing foreign objects, like food or saliva, into your lungs. This can occur because the anesthetic for surgery can impair your body’s ability to stop the contents of your stomach from entering your lungs.
What should I expect right before a cesarean section?
You and your partner will arrive several hours before your surgery and you’ll both be escorted to the preoperative waiting area.You’ll remove all of your clothing and jewelry, and put on a hospital gown. (Your valuables will be placed in a secure area or may be given to your partner.) You’ll sign any necessary paperwork and a preoperative nurse will take your vital signs, review your medications, and answer any questions.You’ll meet the members of your surgery team. Your abdomen will be cleansed. A catheter will be placed into your bladder to collect your urine during and immediately after the procedure. An I.V. (intravenous line) will be placed in your hand or arm to provide medications and fluid. You’ll receive regional anesthesia, which will numb the lower part of your body.When it’s time for the procedure, you’ll be wheeled into the operating suite on a stretcher.
Will I need someone to take me home after a cesarean section?
For your safety and the safety of other motorists, you will need someone to drive you home. If you don’t have a ride, our associates will help you arrange one.
Why are there so many people on my surgery team?
In addition to the surgeon, you have an anesthesiologist, nurses—some of them specialize in working with patients and others assist the surgeon—and support staff, who get you checked in and out, compile your records, and more. They all work together, performing their individual jobs, so the procedure is as successful as possible.
Why am I asked for my name and date of birth every time I get medicine?
It’s a safety precaution to make sure you’re receiving the medication that’s prescribed for you.
What do I need to bring to the hospital the day of my C-section?
You’ll stay in the hospital for two to four days following your cesarean section, so you’ll need to pack for that. A checklist is below. Your nightgown, robe, and slippers Nursing bras and supportive postpartum underwear ToiletriesDry shampoo (in case you can’t shower right away), hairbrush, hair ties Contact lenses or glassesA comfortable pillowClothes for your stay, including elastic-waist pants or comfortable dressesHeadphones
How long does it take the anesthesia to wear off?
It usually takes two hours for an epidural to wear off, though the effects can last a few hours. It takes about two to four hours for a spinal block to wear off, though that can take longer.
What will happen during a cesarean section?
During surgery, your view of your abdomen will be blocked by a small screen and your surgical team will track your vital signs as your surgeon performs the C-section. You might breathe oxygen through a mask. After the baby is delivered, your surgeon will stitch up your uterus and the incision in your abdomen.
When will my family be informed about how I’m doing?
Your partner will be able to accompany you into the operating suite and our associates will give updates to anyone in our waiting room.
How long will a cesarean section take?
A C-section typically takes about 45 minutes.
How long will I be under for a C-section?
You will be anesthetized during the entire procedure and two to four hours afterward, but you won’t be put to sleep. Most cesarean patients receive regional anesthesia so they can stay awake for the birth.
How long will I be in the hospital after a C-section?
You’ll stay in the hospital for two to three days.
What can I expect right after a cesarean section?
You’ll likely be able to hold your baby immediately. You’ll be taken to a postpartum recovery area, where nurses will monitor bleeding from your vagina and incision, blood pressure, and temperature. They will also massage your uterus so it will contract and shrink to its normal size. You may feel a little shaky from the pain medication. You might be offered ice chips and clear broth.
How will I know if cesarean section worked?
Your surgeon will discuss your procedure with you.
When will I get to talk to my surgeon after surgery?
You’ll be able to talk to your surgeon immediately after the procedure.
How soon after a cesarean section will I be up and moving around?
To help you recover faster, you’ll be encouraged to get up and out of bed the same day as your delivery.
Will I receive pain medication following a C-section?
You’ll likely be given additional pain medication through your IV. You’ll be able to control the amount by pushing a button.
How soon after a cesarean section can I eat or drink?
You’ll receive ice chips and clear liquids immediately after the surgery. Eight hours later, you’ll be able to have a light meal.
Will I need to fill any prescriptions or take medication after a C-section?
By the time you go home, you will probably only need over-the-counter pain medications. But your doctor might give you a prescription for pain medication in case you become uncomfortable.
Recovery and Follow-Up
How should I prepare for my at-home recovery?
Following your C-section, you’ll likely be advised to have a helper at home—either your partner, a family member, a friend, or a combination of the three. If you live alone, our associates can help you find a temporary caretaker. Below is a checklist of advance preparations that will make your postpartum period easier. Prepare a place to recover on your home’s first floor, as you will likely be discouraged from climbing stairs.Create a place for any overnight visitors who are helping you. Include clean sheets, towels, and toiletries.Shop for the groceries you’ll need when you return from the hospital—we suggest healthy meals and a lot of hydrating liquids. Organize your home so you can get to necessary items and places without twisting or bending too much.Have nursing bras, nursing pads, a postpartum belly band, and supportive postpartum underwear on hand.Have extra heavy menstrual pads on hand.
Will I need any follow-up appointments or procedures after a C-section?
You’ll have an appointment with your OB/GYN about two weeks after your surgery. Your doctor will check the area of your incision and any steri-strips that haven’t fallen out on their own will be removed. Another appointment will be scheduled for a six-week postpartum exam.
Will there be any scarring or stitches to remove after a C-section?
Your internal stitches will dissolve on their own a few days after the C-section. If you have staples, they will likely be removed before your release from the hospital. After your incision heals, you can expect some scarring, which is usually small and below the bikini line.
How do I care for my incision at home?
You may remove the dressing on the incision if stitches, staples, or glue were used to close the skin. Use mild soap to wash the incision area, but don’t scrub it. If you have steri-strips over your incision, they will likely fall off on their own within about two weeks.For about two weeks, don’t submerge your incision in water by taking a bath or getting in a pool or hot tub. When the incisions are completely healed, feel free to resume those activities.
What should I do if I have an emergency or accident after a C-section?
If your incision becomes infected, comes open, or you have another kind of emergency, call your surgeon’s office. If you’re in need of immediate emergency services, go to the nearest emergency room.
When will I be able to get back to work after a C-section?
It usually takes six to eight weeks or more to return to work after a C-section.
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