Caesarean section is an operation to deliver a baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen.
• The baby appears to be too big to pass through the birth canal
• Part of the placenta (afterbirth) is covering the opening of the uterus
• The mother has a previous caesarean section
• The baby is in a breech position
• There is concern about the baby’s (or babies’) condition
• Labour is not progressing as it should
• The mother has active vaginal herpes
• The mother has a medical condition such as pre-eclampsia
• There is concern that the baby may be too stressed by labour
• The placenta partially separates from the wall of the uterus before the baby is born (placenta abruption)
• There is concern about the health of the baby and it's supply of oxygen and nutrients
• A few women choose to have a caesarean because of their concerns about vaginal birth
Your partner or a support person may be encouraged to be with you once the operation is about to begin. Doctors and health care professionals will also be present, these may include:
• Your obstetrician
• The obstetrician's surgical assistant
• The anaesthetist
• The anaesthetist’s assistant
• A ‘scrub nurse’
• A paediatrician
• The paediatrician’s assistant
• A ‘scout nurse’
• A theatre technician
A caesarean section may be performed under either general or regional anaesthesia (spinal anaesthesia or epidural anaesthesia).
Wound infection: Wound or abdominal infection can usually be effectively treated with antibiotics
Blood Clot: A blood clot may form in a deep vein, most often in a leg or thigh (deep venous thrombosis, DVT) after surgery. This can be life threatening if it breaks off and travels to the heart and lung
Scarring: A hypertrophic or keloid scar may form from the incision. This scar tissue is raised and irregularly shaped, and may be itchy and inflamed.
Damage to organs: Rarely, tissues and organs close to the uterus, especially the bladder and ureters (tubes that drain urine from the kidneys to the bladder), may be damaged. Further surgery may be needed to repair damage.
Decreased bowel function: The bowel sometimes slows down for several days after surgery, resulting in discomfort and bloating.
Bleeding: Blood transfusions can be life saving but are not commonly needed during or after a caesarean. As the chance of requiring a transfusion is small, it is not usually necessary or desirable to put aside your own blood or to arrange for a blood donor.
Uterine atony: This is an uncommon condition in which the uterus does not contract enough after delivery. It can lead to substantial blood loss.