Some women mistakenly believe that a caesarean section is the easy way out of labour but, the truth is, giving birth via C-section has its own set of drawbacks. Learn more about the risks and other details of a C-section birth.
What happens during a Caesarean section?
Whether you’re going down this route for medical reasons or for personal choice, you can prepare yourself in advance by researching exactly what is involved in a C-section delivery.
The number of Australian women giving birth via caesarean section has increased in recent years, up from a national average of 21 per cent in 1998 to 31 per cent in 2007.
According to Australia's Health 2010, the 12th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Queensland had the highest rate of caesarian sections with 33.1 per cent of all births and Tasmania had the lowest rate at 28 per cent.
Pregnant women opt for a C-section for a range of reasons, which is why obstetrician Gino Pecoraro says there is “no single reason” behind this high figure.
Dr Pecoraro believes one reason could be the fact that an average of one in seven women have genital herpes, which babies could contract during a vaginal birth. Also, those women who identify as being survivors of sexual abuse may prefer a C-section.
What is a caesarean section?
In straightforward terms, it is a surgical procedure that involves incisions being made in a pregnant woman’s abdomen and uterus to deliver a baby.
Because a caesarean section is major surgery, it poses the same risks as any other operation, including complications, infection and side effects of anaesthesia. Women who have a caesarean section are also more likely to need to have a caesarean for future pregnancies.
What happens during a caesarean section?
In preparation for your caesarean, a drip will be inserted as well as a catheter. Depending on your situation, a local or general anaesthesia is then administered in the spine. Blood-thinning medication may also be given to prevent blood clots from developing in your legs. Throughout your surgery, your blood pressure will also be monitored.
A screen is put up during the procedure, which generally takes around 20 minutes (this screen is lowered slightly once your baby is delivered).
Generally, your obstetrician will make small incisions below the bikini line, unless you have a low-lying placenta or are delivering a premature baby. The umbilical cord and placenta are removed before the doctors begin to close the incision. During the actual caesarean birth, some mothers feel a slight “tugging” sensation, which is completely normal.
Your caesarean scar is stitched up using either internal stitches, which dissolve away, or major surgical staples. You will then move into a recovery room before antibiotics are administered to help guard against infection.
Except in extreme circumstances, you should be able to have your baby stay with you during the surgery and in recovery. It can take hours for the effects of the anaesthetic to wear off, so don’t expect to be up and walking around immediately.