A cesarean birth is the surgical delivery of a baby through an incision in the mother's abdomen. Cesarean births may be planned and schedule. But, in many cases, a cesarean is unexpected. A cesarean is done to ensure the safest birth for both you and your baby.
Preparing for this procedure
If you are having a scheduled or unexpected c-section, your doctor will provide you with instructions before the birth. Your doctor and medical staff will provide the best possible care for you and your newborn.
How this procedure is performed
The preparation for the birth is nearly the same whether scheduled or unscheduled. Surgery will begin shortly after you receive anesthesia. You will receive either regional or general anesthesia. Most cesareans are completed in less than an hour. During the birth, your healthcare team is with you, ready to take care of you and your newborn. Your partner may also be with you for the birth.
In the cesarean birth, incisions are made in both the skin and the uterus. Either incision may be transverse (from side to side) or vertical. Your skin and uterine incisions may differ. Be sure they are noted in your health records.
- The skin incision is usually transverse (side to side). It is located at the pubic hairline. A vertical incision may be used if you've had this incision before or if the cesarean needs to be done quickly.
- The uterine incision is almost always transverse. A transverse incision heals very well. This may allow for a future vaginal birth (VBAC). In certain cases, a vertical uterine incisions may be made.
Once the incisions are made, the doctor presses on the top of the uterus and guides the baby through the incision. The cord will be clamped and cut. Then the placenta is lifted out through the incision.
After your baby's birth, the uterine incision is closed with stitches. Then, your skin incision will be closed with surgical staples or stitches and a dressing will be applied. Your doctor will press on your uterus. This helps expel blood clots through the vagina. You may be given medications to help shrink your uterus and decrease bleeding. You may also receive antibiotics to reduce any risk of infection. Your baby will be placed in an infant warmer.
CPG Physicians who perform this procedure
Adib Najib Khouzami, MD, FACOG
Albert K. Mall, MD
Anne Sterlin, MD, FACOG
Delbert Yoder, MD, FACOG
Vivian Boyer, Midwife
Patricia Pajak, Midwife
Cynthia Stallings, Midwife
Lori Verostick, Midwife