The Caesarean Section Surgery

There are a number of methods available to doctors and midwives to help facilitate childbirth if complications arise. In many cases, assisted delivery will only involve some help by way of forceps or vacuum delivery which can give the extra push needed to help a mother deliver her child. However there are cases where the rigours of a normal childbirth can be dangerous to the health of both mother or child, and in these instances doctors can resort to a procedure called the caesarean section, or C-section, which allows for the safe and healthy delivery of a baby where needed.

The C-Section Procedure

C-sections are, like any surgical procedure in the UK, performed in dedicated theatres which are kept sterile and free of any potential sources of infection to ensure patient safety. The first step of the C-section is the administration of an anaesthetic, which will be either local or general. Local anaesthesia numbs the area which is about to be operated upon, while general anaesthesia will put you to sleep for the length of the procedure. Generally speaking local anaesthesia will be used unless in emergency situations where the procedure needs to be performed as quickly as possible. Alternatively you may be given an epidural for pain relief rather than a standard local anaesthetic.

The actual surgery itself involves an incision being made along or just beneath the bikini line so that it will be concealed by pubic hair. This incision is made through the abdomen and womb, and creates an opening through which the baby can be safely removed. This is particularly useful where the mother has a condition that makes the constant physical strain of childbirth dangerous, and where the child is in a breech position (feet first) and can’t be adjusted by other means during delivery.

Because of the anaesthesia you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. For your comfort and peace of mind a screen is usually put up so that you can’t watch the surgery, and the most you might experience is some tugging as the baby is delivered. The entire procedure is performed in about 45 minutes, and it only actually takes about 10 minutes to deliver your baby. You can hold your child straightaway if you have been on a local anaesthetic, and your partner can be with you to offer support if you need it.

Recovering from the C-Section

After the surgical opening has been made and the baby successfully taken out of the womb, the surgical team will close the incision carefully. As mentioned before the surgical incision is placed so that it will heal up and be as inconspicuous as possible.

You are likely to feel some discomfort as you recover from the operation, and this is completely natural. Painkillers will be available for your use if you need them, and you might find that you have some difficulty with bladder control after the surgery. To avoid any embarrassment involved with this, you will be fitted with a catheter for about a day after the surgery. A catheter is a tube that runs from your bladder into a specially designed bag which works as a solution for women suffering from temporary incontinence.

Alongside painkillers you will be provided with daily injections called thrombolytics to prevent any unwanted blood clots from forming. This isn’t always the case, and your doctor’s decision to prescribe these particular medications will depend on your individual medical condition.

You will be usually be discharged within four days of the procedure, and your care at the hospital after the first day of recovery will usually be geared towards getting you moving as quickly as possible. Don’t worry, you won’t be asked to do anything strenuous, but general movement does a lot more for recovery than sitting still. You can expect a visit from your midwife or a physiotherapist which will aim to give you information about exercises to help you recover after childbirth and a C-Section. It can take some weeks after the procedure for a more complete recovery, during which time you should report any concerns to your doctor.

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