Skip to content

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Cesarean Section - How a Cesarean Section Is Done

Surgery preparation

Most cesarean sections are done with epidural or spinal anesthesia, used to numb sensation in the abdominal area. Only in an emergency situation or when an epidural or spinal anesthesia cannot be used or is a problem would fast-acting general anesthesia be used to make you unconscious for a cesarean birth.

The hospital may send you instructions on how to get ready for your surgery, or a nurse may call you with instructions before your surgery.

In preparation for a cesarean section, your arms are secured to the table for your safety, and a curtain is hung across your chest. A tiny intravenous (IV) tube is placed in your arm or hand; you may be given a sedative through the IV to help you relax. A catheter is inserted into your bladder to allow you to pass urine during and after the surgery. Your upper pubic area may be shaved, and the abdomen and pubic area are washed with an antibacterial solution. The incision site may be covered with an adhesive plastic sheet, or drape, to protect the surgical area.

Before, during, and after a cesarean section, your blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood oxygen level are closely monitored. You will also be given a dose of antibiotics to prevent infection after delivery.

Cesarean procedure and delivery

After the anesthesia is working, a doctor makes the cesarean incision through your lower abdomen and uterus. See a picture of cesarean section incisions camera.gif. You may notice an intense feeling of pressure or pulling as the baby is delivered. After delivering your newborn through the incision, the doctor then removes the placenta and then closes the uterus and the incision with layers of stitches.

Right after surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area where nurses will care for and observe you. You will stay in the recovery area for 1 to 4 hours, and then you will be moved to a hospital room. In addition to any special instructions from your doctor, your nurse will explain information to help you in your recovery.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: February 23, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
     
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
     
    slideshow fetal development
    Slideshow
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    Article
     
    What Causes Bipolar
    Video
    Woman trying on dress in store
    Slideshow
     
    pregnant woman
    Article
    Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
    Video
     
    healthtool pregnancy calendar
    Tool
    eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
    Video