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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What do I need to know about a C-section?

A C-section, or cesarean section, is abdominal surgery to deliver your baby. A C-section may also be done if you are pregnant with more than 1 baby.

How do I prepare for a C-section?

  • Your obstetrician will talk to you about how to prepare if you are having a planned C-section. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He or she will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you had an allergic reaction to anesthesia or antibiotics. Antibiotics may be given an hour before surgery or right after it starts. Antibiotics help fight or prevent a bacterial infection. You may need tests for certain infections that can be passed to your baby, such as group B strep (GBS). If you are a GBS carrier or are at increased risk, antibiotics help prevent your baby from being infected during the C-section.

What will happen during a C-section?

You will usually be given spinal anesthesia to numb you from the surgery area down. You may still feel pressure or pushing during the C-section, but you should not feel any pain. Your obstetrician will usually make an incision across your lower abdomen. He or she will gently pull your baby or babies out. Your incision will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with a bandage.

What will happen after a C-section?

  • You will be taken to a room to rest for about an hour after you deliver.
  • Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay.
  • Call for a healthcare provider if you are holding your baby and start to feel tired. The provider can put him or her in a bassinet near you while you rest or sleep. This will help prevent an accidental drop or fall of your baby.

What are the risks of a C-section?

You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Your bladder or intestines may be injured during the procedure. You may get a blood clot in your leg. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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