A C-section (or cesarean delivery) uses an incision in the woman's abdomen and uterus to access and remove the baby. Planned C-sections are performed for many reasons, including pregnancies where the mother or baby has a medical issue that makes vaginal delivery impossible or risky when the baby is very large. Emergency C-sections may also be performed when it becomes apparent during the delivery process that a vaginal delivery is too risky for the mother or the baby or both, such as when delivery is prolonged, when the baby is in distress, or when there is a problem with the placenta or the umbilical cord. Planned C-sections may also be necessary for women who have had previous C-sections and in whom a vaginal delivery is not a good option.
C-sections are performed using an epidural which blocks pain sensations in the belly area and below. Once the patient is numbed, the skin over the incision site is carefully cleansed and an incision is made through the skin and the uterine wall to access the baby and remove the placenta. Once the baby has been delivered, the incisions will be closed using sutures or staples (or both).
Most women can go home within three to five days from delivery. Once home, complete recovery can take a month or more. During recovery, strenuous physical activity and heavy lifting should be avoided, and pain medication can be used to relieve discomfort in the initial stage of healing. Most women benefit from some additional help at home to handle household chores. Pads and not tampons can be used to control vaginal bleeding, which can occur for two weeks or more.
Yes, women who have C-sections can nurse immediately afterward.
Many women can have vaginal deliveries in subsequent pregnancies. An evaluation will be used to determine if a vaginal delivery is a good option.
Dr. Abha S. Gupta M.D., F.A.C.O.G. accepts most major insurances! Take a look at our list of the major insurances we accept and feel free to call us if you have any questions.