The Facts About Caesareans – What You Need To Know

The Facts About Caesareans – What You Need To Know

It’s becoming more and more common in the western world for women to opt for an elective caesarean. Around 1 in every 4-5 babies are born this way, either by choice or the need for an emergency caesarean.

A caesarean can be a lifesaving procedure for both mother and baby, however, although routinely carried out, it is major abdominal surgery that requires appropriate recovery time and care.


Also commonly referred to as a C-section, it is an operation to cut through your abdomen and then your womb to remove the baby.

The cut is usually made horizontally on the bikini line however it can be done vertically although not as common these days. Once the baby is removed the mother is immediately sewn back up using surgical stitches.


It’s likely that your public area will firstly be cleaned and shaved to prepare the surface area and help prevent infection.

Then a catheter will be linked to your bladder and you will be connected to an IV drip to ensure you are able to receive medication and fluids as required.

A regional anaesthetic- also sometimes referred to as a spinal block, is used to numb the lower half of your body, leaving you wide awake for the procedure.

It is common practice for a screen to be placed across your body behind where the surgeon makes the incision, so that you are not able to see the procedure taking place.  This reduces the stress and psychological trauma of the operation and helps to keep Mum calm.

While you are awe of your beautiful new baby, meeting him or her for the first time and completely oblivious to what is happening down below, the surgeon will use this time to remove the placenta and stitch you back up nicely.

Most C-sections take around 40 mins to complete providing there are no complications.


A caesarean is called elective if you have it preplanned and booked in prior to your due date. Your healthcare provider may recommend this if for example:

  • Your baby is in a difficult position,
  • You are having multiple babies,
  • The placenta is covering the cervix,
  • The baby is deemed to be too big to be able to safely travel down the birth canal and exit or,
  • There are any other medical complications that require the baby to be removed quickly.

Sometimes however, you may go into labour naturally and still require a c-section.

This is referred to as an emergency caesarean. This can happen if there are complications with the birth or if the risks to you or your baby are too great to continue trying to deliver naturally. For example;

  • If your baby becomes distressed or shows an abnormal heartbeat,
  • If the baby is not moving down the birth canal, or
  • If the labour is not progressing.


Once upon a time it was common practice to advise women that once they have had a c-section they will be required to have one again for all subsequent births. However, this is no longer the case.

The chances of a successful vaginal birth after a c-section are now up to 76%. Discuss this with your doctor to determine if there are any risks for you, as every birth and women is different.


The risks to the mother include:

  • Infection
  • Excess blood loss
  • Blood clots
  • Accidental damage to the bladder

The risks for the baby include:

  • Breathing difficulties (about 35 out of 1000 babies will have breathing problems after birth compared to just 5 out of 1000 born vaginally)


Although you have had major abdominal surgery, your midwives will try to get you up out of bed a few hours after surgery or the next day depending on how your surgery went and any complications that may have occurred.

You will be tender and have limited mobility for approximately 6 weeks. During this time, you must not lift anything heavier than your baby and will not be able to drive for a number of weeks following surgery. Check with you doctor and insurance company about the specific time required for driving.

You may find your incision point is quite itchy for many weeks or even months following the birth. This is completely normal as the skins repairs itself, however, be cautious not to scratch and damage the skin as you run the risk of infection.

Your healthcare provider will be able to advise a number of treatments available to help heal your wound and prevent too much discomfort.

The most important thing is to remember is that the safe arrival of both baby and Mum on the other side of childbirth is all that matters.

Be sure to include the possibility of an emergency or elective caesarean in your birth plan “just in case”. It’s always a lot easier to come to terms with and prepare for if you’ve given it some careful consideration during your pregnancy.

Things to consider include:

  • Support people – Who will be able to help you?
  • Driving other children to school – Who can do this while you are out of action?
  • Groceries – Can someone do these for you or order online?
  • Attending appointments – You will need someone to drive you.
  • Extra time required to stay in hospital – Who will take care of other children?

These and many other factors should be discussed with your partner or support people to ensure you have a plan in place and assist with a smooth transition into new motherhood.

MaterniTea's Post Birth Recovery Pack is the ideal natural support to help heal and restore the reproductive organs, balance hormones after birth, help your milk supply to come in and help with energy and immunity boosting functions.

It’s the simple addition you can easily pack in your hospital bag to enjoy immediately after birth. Your baby needs their mum happy healthy and functioning to support them.

So don’t forget to take care of YOU too.

Order your post birth recovery pack now and ensure you’re prepared for whenever your baby needs to arrive.

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