A Caesarean birth, also known as a C-section, is the birth of your baby through an incision in your abdomen and uterus. Your health care provider may recommend this type of birth to you to protect the health of you or your baby.
Preparing for a planned caesarean birth
A few days prior to a caesarean you will be asked to go to the hospital lab to have some blood taken.
On the day of your caesarean birth, check-in with registration, then come up to the labour and delivery unit on the third floor 1.5 hours prior to your scheduled Caesarean birth. The nurse will ask some health questions, take your temperature, pulse and blood pressure and listen to baby.
The caesarean incision is generally along the top of your (pubic) hairline. If you have not already done so, your nurse can assist you to shave using an electric razor. An IV (intravenous) will be started and you will be given some pre-operative medications to neutralize and empty your stomach, as well as prophylactic antibiotics. You will meet the anaesthesiologist, the surgeon and assistant, and the operating room nurse. You will wear a hospital gown, mask and hat and can use the bathroom if you need to, prior to walking to the operating room.
In the operating room
ou will be accompanied into the operating room by a nurse and asked to sit on the side of the bed, where the anaesthesiologist will insert your spinal anaesthetic. The anaesthesiologist will be with you throughout the surgery to ensure you are comfortable. Your blood pressure, pulse and blood oxygen level is measured throughout.
Once your anaesthetic is effective the operating room nurse will place the urinary catheter to empty your bladder throughout the surgery. Your abdomen will be wiped with a sterile solution then draped with a blue fabric. You are welcome to ask for the drape to be lowered as baby is birthing, if you wish.
Your support person will wear hospital scrubs and they are the very last person to enter the operating room There is a stool next to you for your support person to use. You are welcome to take pictures. Kindly no video or film in the operating room.
The caesarean process
The surgeon works carefully until the uterus comes into view, and a small incision is made across the lower end of the uterus, just large enough for the baby to be born. Baby’s birth happens with the help of a firm push from the top of your uterus and you will be aware of this firm pressure.
You can see the baby's birth if the drape is lowered or the baby can be held up for you to see. Baby will then rest on your abdomen until the cord stops pulsing, the cord is then clamped and cut. The pediatrician is in the room to check your baby’s health, weight and measurements. If your baby is checked on the infant warmer, your support person can come on over and stay close, as their voice and touch will comfort your newborn. If all is well, baby will then be taken back to you and placed skin-to-skin if you desire.
Babies are soothed by your close presence and will often study your face and listen to your voice.
Your baby may show signs of wanting to hunt and root for the breast and feed while the surgeon is still suturing the layers of your abdomen. If this happens, you or the nurse can assist with breastfeeding. At some point, your support person will be asked to return to your room with your baby while the surgeon applies a dressing to your incision, and the operating nurses transfer you to a stretcher. This will take no more than ten minutes, and then you will be reunited with your support person and baby.
During the next hour or so the nurse will check your blood pressure frequently and ensure you are not bleeding too much. Baby will be returned to your chest and when ready, will start feeding. You will be taken with baby to your post-partum room by stretcher.