It has been a long nine month journey, but it is finally time to meet your baby. You are probably anxious and filled with a lot of different emotions. These emotions are completely normal when delivering your baby.
About 80 percent of first time moms are successful at having a vaginal delivery, and this percent dramatically rises if the mother has had a vaginal delivery in the past. However, 20 percent of first time moms will require a c-section.
Given this, it is important for patients to consider and discuss with their provider reasons for c-sections. Women’s Healthcare of Morgantown’s main goal is for mom and baby to be healthy through the birth process, and sometimes moving to plan B, a c-section, is necessary to achieve this.
Read on to learn more about c-sections, common misconceptions and more.
REASONS FOR C-SECTION
- You have had a previous c-section.
- You have had another uterine surgery such as a myomectomy, surgical removal of fibroids, which can increase the risk of your uterus rupturing during vaginal delivery.
- You are carrying more than one baby. The more babies you are carrying, the more likely you will have a c-section. You might be able to deliver twins vaginally, depending on when delivery is and the position of the twins.
- Your baby is in a breech position, meaning the baby is going to come out feet first.
- Your baby is expected to be very large, or your previous baby suffered trauma during vaginal delivery.
Many c-sections are unplanned, meaning the indication requiring a c-section arises during labor. This does not mean that the c-section is an emergency. Reasons for an unplanned c-section include:
- Labor is no longer progressing, despite attempts to augment your labor using pitocin or breaking your water. This situation may be more likely if your water breaks first, prior to labor starting, or your labor is induced.
- You progress to 10 cm and push for an extended period of time, but progress is not being made. This is more likely if the baby or baby’s head is large, your pelvis is narrow and/or the position of the baby’s head.
- Abnormalities of the baby’s heart rate. There are multiple heart rate patterns your provider and nurses monitor, and some may indicate that the baby is not tolerating the labor process – not getting adequate oxygen and blood flow. At times, giving you additional IV fluids, oxygen and changing your position may improve the heart rate pattern. If not, it is not safe to continue attempts at labor. In this situation, a c-section is required and would be performed very soon. Sometimes, the baby’s heart rate acutely drops to an unsafe level and does not improve, and the c-section is performed.
WHAT HAPPENS RIGHT BEFORE A C-SECTION?
- Your doctor will first explain why a c-section is necessary.
- You will be asked to sign a consent form. Typically, your partner can be with you during birth.
- An anesthesiologist will come to review your pain management options such as an epidural or spinal block, which will numb the lower half of your body. (Note: you will still be awake for the birth of your baby.)
- A catheter, a tube inserted into your urethra, will be inserted to drain urine during the procedure.
- You are moved to an operating room. You will be given antibiotics through an IV to prevent infection during the operation.
- Anesthesia will be administered, and a screen will be raised over your waist so you will not have to see the incision being made. Your partner will be seated by your head.
HOW IS A C-SECTION PERFORMED?
- The doctor will make a horizontal incision above your pubic bone and cut through the underlying tissue and work his or her way down to your uterus.
- When he or she reaches your abdominal muscles, the doctor will separate your muscles manually to spread them apart exposing the uterus.
- When the doctor reaches the uterus, he or she will make a horizontal cut in the lower section of it. Your doctor will be an obstetrician-gynecologist (Ob/Gyn) who specializes in the surgical care of a women’s health and pregnancy.
- The doctor will then reach in and pull your baby out.
- Once the cord is cut, you will have the chance to see your baby.
- Then, the doctor will deliver your placenta and begin the process of closing you up.
- Most c-sections take about one hour to complete. Your partner and baby will be with you until almost the end of the procedure, at which time they will go back to your room with a nurse. Once your c-section is complete, you are normally taken directly back to your room to join them.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT CAESAREAN SECTIONS
Labor is a fluid process, and birth plans may need to change during labor. If it is safest or necessary for a c-section, this will be recommended.
There are still misconceptions about c-sections even though it’s a common procedure.
- You won’t be able to breastfeed easily. The method of delivery has little effect on your ability to nurse your baby.
- Having a c-section means you will not be able to have skin-to-skin time after delivering your baby. Many women are able to bond with their baby immediately or shortly after delivery.
- You can schedule to have a c-section when you are tired of being pregnant. Most doctors do not approve of having an elective c-section without a medical indication.
- You can’t deliver vaginally after having a c-section. Attempting a vaginal delivery after a c-section has risks. You and your doctor will review you history and reason for you last c-section. Then, you and your doctor will discuss if this is a good idea for you.
- You will be completely unconscious during the surgery. You will not sleep during it; an epidural is used for pain management.
WOMEN’S HEALTHCARE OF MORGANTOWN | DELIVERING YOUR BABY IN MORGANTOWN
At Women’s Healthcare of Morgantown, we offer support throughout your pregnancy. We will make sure you feel comfortable and are dedicated to making sure you and your baby are safe and healthy.