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Women and Family Care

What to expect with a C-section delivery

Be sure to read about C-section recovery at the hospital.
The following steps will occur if you're having a C-section:

  • You'll sign the surgical consent form.
  • An IV will be placed to provide fluids, nourishment and medicines. It is generally removed about 24 hours after birth.
  • The upper edge of your pubic hair will be clipped.
  • A catheter will be placed into your bladder if your care provider orders it. The catheter keeps your bladder empty and out of the way during surgery. It is generally removed 18-24 hours after birth.
  • You are then transferred to an operating room in the Birthing Center. Seven to nine people are present to help perform your surgery and take care of your baby.
  • You will be given anesthesia, either an epidural, spinal, or general.
  • EKG pads will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart.
  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm to monitor your blood pressure.
  • An oxygen tube will be placed in your nose which gives your baby oxygen as well.
  • Your abdomen will be washed with antiseptic soap and draped with sterile sheets.
  • A protective curtain will be placed at your shoulders to prevent you and your labor partner from seeing the incisions made.
  • An incision will be made in your abdomen, either a bikini or midline incision.
  • An incision will be made in your uterus, either a bikini or midline incision.
  • Your physician will then puncture the amniotic sac and suction the fluid out.
  • Your physician will deliver your baby. Birth takes place about 10 minutes after your surgery starts and the protective curtain can be lowered so that you can see your baby and take pictures. Cameras and camcorders can be used though flashes are not allowed.
  • Your placenta will be removed.
  • You will be given an Oxytocin drug by IV to help your uterus contract.
  • Your care team will repair the incisions. Stitches are used for the uterine incision and stitches or staples are used for the abdominal incision.
  • The removal of the placenta and the repair of incisions takes 30-60 minutes.

Baby care

Your baby will receive the same post-delivery care as a baby that is born vaginally. After spending a short time in the Operating Room, your baby will go to the nursery. Your support person may go with your baby, but he/she will not be allowed back in the operating room.

If your baby doesn't have any complications, your support person and your baby may join you in the recovery room.If the baby's doctor finds that your baby has special needs, he/she will need to go to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at PVH or the Special Care Unit at MCR. You, your support person and family will be allowed to visit and participate in your baby's care.

Recovery room

You will be transferred to the recovery room and remain there for about two hours for post-operative care.. You will be monitored and given medication for pain and nausea as needed. Your support person, your baby's siblings, and possibly your baby may be present in the recovery room.

We encourage you to breast-feed and hold your baby skin-to-skin when your baby is present. Once you are stable, you will be transferred to your postpartum recovery room. Rooming-in with your baby may begin when you transfer to your postpartum room. The average hospital stay for a C-section is usually three to four days.

Be sure to read about C-section recovery at the hospital.

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