Cesarean Section

Delivery of a baby through an incision in the mother’s lower abdominal and uterine walls.

REASONS FOR PROCEDURE

Danger to the mother or baby from one or more of many causes, including:

  • Baby’s head too large to pass through the birth canal.
  • Baby in the wrong presentation to pass through the birth canal (breech presentation).
  • Insufficient or inadequate strength of the contractions of the uterus.
  • Abnormal placenta location obstructing the birth canal (placenta previa).
  • Failure of normal labor in a patient who had a previous cesarean section.
  • Fetal distress (necessitating immediate delivery).
  • Acute herpes genitals infection.

RISK INCREASES WITH

  • Prior cesarean section.
  • Obesity.
  • Smoking.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Excess alcohol consumption.
  • Placenta previa with excessive blood loss.
  • Preeclampsia or eclampsia in pregnancy.
  • Chronic heart or lung disease.
  • Use of drugs, such as antihypertensives; cortisone; diuretics; or insulin.
  • Use of mind-altering drugs.

DESCRIPTION OF PROCEDURE

  • An incision is made in the abdomen.
  • Another incision is made in the uterus.
  • Baby and placenta are removed.
  • The uterus is closed and the abdominal contents are replaced. Connective tissue, muscles and skin are closed. The skin is closed with sutures or clips, which usually can be removed about 1 week after surgery.

EXPECTED OUTCOME

No complications expected. Allow about 4 weeks for recovery from surgery.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES

  • Excessive bleeding or surgical-wound infection.
  • Postoperative anemia.
  • Endomyometritis (inflammation of lining and muscle of uterus).

POSTPROCEDURE CARE
GENERAL MEASURES

  • A hard ridge should form along the incision. As it heals, the ridge will recede gradually.
  • Use an electric heating pad, a heat lamp or a warm compress to relieve incisional paid.
  • Shower as usual. You may wash the incision gently with mild unscented soap. Resume tub baths after 2-3 weeks.
  • Don’t douche unless advised by the doctor.

MEDICATION

  • Prescription pain medication should generally be required only for 2 to 7 days following the procedure.
  • You may use nonprescription drugs, such as acetaminophen, for minor pain.

ACTIVITY

  • Resume daily activities and work as soon as you are able. Full recovery normally takes about 6 weeks.
  • Resume driving 3 weeks after returning home.
  • Avoid sexual intercourse for 4 to 6 weeks or as directed by your doctor.

DIET

No special diet.