Sometimes a cesarean birth (c-section) is the safest way to deliver your baby. A cesarean birth is a procedure in which the doctor surgically delivers your baby. While a cesarean birth may be frightening at first, it can be just as joyous and rewarding for you and your birth partner as a vaginal birth.
A cesarean birth may be needed for a number of reasons – your baby is in distress or in the wrong position, your pelvis is too small, your baby is too large, your labor isn’t progressing, or you had a previous delivery by cesarean birth.
Cesarean births take place in the obstetrical operating room located on the tenth floor Labor and Delivery Unit where you will be attended by:
- Assistant (another obstetrician, physician assistant or certified nurse midwife), Your labor and delivery nurse
- Operating room technician
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)and anesthesiologist – manage anesthesia throughout the procedure
- NICU staff – may be present for any medical needs related to the care of the newborn
- Baby advocate – registered nurse responsible specifically for the care of the newborn from birth through the first hour of life
To prepare you for a cesarean birth, your nurse will start an IV, clean and shave your abdomen and insert a catheter into your bladder. Usually, you will be given spinal or epidural anesthesia. This anesthesia allows the mother to be awake during the birth and to share the birth experience. In most cases, your partner will be allowed to be with you during the surgical procedure. There are some circumstances which medically require general anesthesia.
Following the cesarean birth, there will be a one- to two-hour recovery period in the recovery room (located across the hall from the obstetrical operating room). During that time, you will be watched closely and made as comfortable as possible. As often as possible, your baby will be with you during your recovery time to maximize bonding and initial breastfeeding. You will have a nurse with you throughout your recovery.
If you are having a scheduled cesarean birth, your care provider will share specific surgery instructions with you prior to your scheduled surgery date.