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Cesarean Section


A cesarean delivery, or c-section, is abdominal surgery to deliver your baby. There are many reasons you may need a c-section.
  • A c-section may be scheduled before labor if you had a c-section with your last baby. It may be scheduled if your baby is not positioned normally, or you are pregnant with more than 1 baby.
  • Your caregiver may perform an emergency c-section during labor to prevent life-threatening complications for you or your baby. A c-section may be done if your cervix does not dilate after several hours of active labor.
  • Other reasons for a c-section include maternal infections and problems with the placenta.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Anesthesia is used to numb you below the waist. Your caregiver puts a shot of medicine in your lower spine. You will remain awake during the surgery.
  • A Foley catheter is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.
  • Antibiotics may be given to prevent a bacterial infection.

During your surgery:

Caregivers will remove any hair on your abdomen. A drape will be placed over your abdomen to reduce the risk of infection. An incision will be made across your lower abdomen, just above your pubic hairline. Another incision is made in your uterus. Caregivers will remove your baby through these incisions. The incision in your uterus will be closed with stitches. The incision in your abdomen will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with a bandage.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room.

  • Medicines:
    • Antibiotic medicine may be given to prevent a bacterial infection.
    • Pain medicine may be given to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • You may need to walk around the same day of surgery , or the day after. Movement helps prevent blood clots. Do not get out of bed on your own. Caregivers will help you stand up or walk around as soon as your pain is controlled. You may also be given exercises to do in bed.
  • You may take a bath or shower after your bandage is removed. This is usually 1 to 2 days after your surgery.
  • You should be able to go home 2 to 4 days after your surgery. Your caregiver will give you instructions on wound care and activity limits.


  • You could develop an infection in your urinary tract, surgical incision, or uterus. You could have heavy bleeding, or your bladder or bowel could be injured during surgery. You could develop a blood clot. A serious infection or blood clot could be life-threatening.
  • There is a small risk that your baby's skin could be cut during the surgery. A c-section increases the risk that your baby will need to be admitted to the intensive care unit after birth.


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 caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Cesarean Section (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

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