Childbirth & Caesarean

Caesarean sections are also widely referred to as C-Sections, and are surgical interventions during childbirth that aim to safely deliver a baby where there are complications that put both mother and child’s health at risk. In some cases, caesareans are actually opted for by mums for reasons discussed later in this article.

What is a C-Section?

A caesarean section involves a surgical incision being made across and through your abdomen (belly) and into the womb, creating an opening through which a baby can be safely drawn. Modern C-Sections are performed with scarring in mind, and as such the incision is usually made so that it would be hidden by pubic hair

When are caesarean sections performed?

Caesarean sections can be performed as emergency operations that are needed when complications arise, either during pregnancy of childbirth. Conditions like pre-eclampsia, if severe, often require caesarean sections as the mother’s health is at risk during childbirth. Similarly if a mother’s health, or even a baby’s health is at risk during labour, for instance if the cervix (the opening of the womb) does not fully dilate (widen) then a C-Section is often the only safe recourse.

Alternatively you can elect for a caesarean in advance of childbirth and plan for the procedure. On the NHS this is typically when there are serious health risks that your doctor and/or midwife are aware of prior to childbirth. You can elect for this procedure in some instances in private care, however at present the issue remains a controversial one. Some women prefer the caesarean route to avoid the pain of labour and would like to have the choice of electing for the surgery regardless of whether or not they need it medically.

How are caesarean sections performed?

The surgery itself is performed in a sterile operating theatre with specialist staff to hand, as with any surgical procedure performed in the UK. If you are having a C-section performed for whatever reason you are likely to be given a spinal anaesthetic or epidural to numb your lower body in preparation for the surgery. In some cases a general anaesthetic (which puts you to sleep rather than numbs a particular area) is used, although this is avoided unless the procedure needs to be performed quickly as it can adversely affect a mother’s blood pressure.

C-sections are an extremely important surgical procedure in modern medicine, allowing doctors a method of safely delivering a child when serious and potentially life threatening situations arise during childbirth. The question of whether or not this surgery should be available as an elective for women with no pressing medical reason to opt for it remains controversial, however the fact remains that the surgery can be a life-saving tool for both mother and child.

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