Some mothers need the cesarean-section room. (Fourty to fourty-five percent of babies at Bridgeport Hospital are born by cesarean, since many mothers are referred here for our high-risk pregnancy services.)
What Is a Cesarean Section?
A cesarean section, or C-section, as it is often called, is a surgical procedure. Anesthesia is provided (usually an epidural or spinal anesthesia — discuss your wishes with your anesthesiologist). Then a skin incision is made — usually across the lower part of the mother's abdomen — followed by a matching incision in the uterus. The bag of waters is broken, and the baby is lifted out of the womb. The umbilical cord connecting the baby to the placenta is clamped and cut. Then the placenta is removed and the incisions are stitched, or sutured. (The skin incision is usually closed with absorbable sutures, which do not need to be removed.)
The procedure usually takes about ten minutes from start to delivery, with another 30-40 minutes for suturing. Then you will go to the recovery room.
You can still breastfeed your baby after a C-section. In fact, you may begin nursing (or pumping your milk, if your baby is not immediately able to nurse) as soon as you feel up to it.
Who Might Need a C-Section?
Situations where a C-Section might be required include:
- A baby that is too large to fit through the mother's pelvis
- Labor that is not progressing after a prolonged time
- Fetal malpresentation (The baby is in breech position, or even sideways, and can't be manipulated to lie head-down.)
- Fetal distress
- Maternal medical conditions, including active herpes, diabetes, severe high blood pressure (Note that these are not always reasons for a C-Section!)
- Placenta previa (The placenta partly or completely covers the cervix, which would lead to excessive bleeding during labor and delivery.)
- Prolapsed cord (The umbilical cord enters the birth canal before the baby does, which might mean a loss of the blood supply to the baby during birth.)
- Repeat cesarean (If you think you are heading for a repeat C-section, ask your doctor if Vaginal Birth After Cesarean [VBAC] is possible for you.)
The Birthplace at Bridgeport Hospital offers a refresher class to show you what to expect when you have a trial of labor after at least one cesarean. To sign up, call 203-384-3510.