What you need to know about caesareans
A Caesarean section (C/S) is performed when natural birth is impossible or unsafe.
Before the operation a catheter will be inserted into the bladder enabling free flow of urine after the C/S. A drip will be inserted into a vein to allow fluids and medication to be given directly into the blood before and during the operation. Monitoring leads will be set up to measure the heartbeat and blood pressure. The abdomen will also be swabbed with an anti-bacterial wash.
The patient will be given a regional or general anaesthesia. A regional anaesthetic block prevents the sensation of pain in a particular area of the body while the patient remains awake. General anaesthesia prevents any pain sensation and relaxes the muscles while the patient is asleep.
The doctor makes an incision into the skin just below the navel. He then enters through the abdominal wall and opens the lower part of the uterus. The most common kind of skin incision used is the transverse incision which goes across from left to right just above the pubic bone.
In the case of an emergency C/S, a sub umbilical mid-line incision may be made which goes from just below the navel down to the pubic area allowing for faster access to the womb. After having opened the uterus the doctor removes the baby and cuts the umbilical cord after which the baby is handed over to the paediatrician.
The placenta and membranes are then removed. The doctor repairs the uterus and closes the abdominal incision.