What is a Caesarean Section - Time Required, Dangers and Risks - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Cesarean Section

Dr.Barun  Chakraborty profile Authored by Dr.Barun Chakraborty on 15 May 2014 - 17:02.

What is a Caesarean Section?

A cesarean section (C-section) is a surgical procedure, performed to deliver a baby by making an incision in mother's abdomen and then in the uterus. C-section may be planned due to any complication or as an emergency decision taken by doctors in case of certain complications to save the life of mother, fetus or both.

When is the planned C-section considered?

C-section can be pre-planned in the following circumstances:

  • If a woman had a previous C-section/s (especially vertical uterine incision)then it is mandatory to deliver a baby
    through C-section only, as uterus may rupture during vaginal (normal) delivery.
  • In case of a uterine surgery done earlier. 
  • When a woman is predicted to carry twins or multiples and also some other health issues.
  • If the baby is expected to be larger in size or overweight.
  • If the baby is found to be in an abnormal position and seems difficult to deliver normally.
  • If the mother's placenta is low and covers cervix.
  • Presence of large fibroid that makes normal delivery impossible or complicated.​If the fetus has some detected abnormality like excess fluid in the brain.​
  • If a woman is diagnosed to have heart problems or any serious infection like HIV.

When is the unplanned cesarean delivery executed?

The doctor may choose a C-section to deliver a baby in certain emergency situations, such as:

  • Slow down or stopping of dilation of the cervix.
  • Fetus not moving towards the vagina.
  • Abnormal heart rate of the baby, which indicates that the fetus cannot withstand labor.
  • Slipping of the umbilical cord which leads to insufficient oxygen supply to the fetus.
  • Detachment of placenta from mother's uterine wall.
  • Genital herpes detected in the mother.
  • Non-progressive labor and closure of cervix, even after hours of contraction.

What is the time required for the C-section?

The whole procedure usually takes about half an hour (30 minutes) or longer, in normal circumstances.

When can one be discharged from the hospital?

A hospital stay of about 3 days can be expected in normal circumstances. However, it can be longer if either mother, fetus or both have some health issues.

What to expect in a C- Section?

Before the C-section:

  • Mother or close relatives may have to sign the consent form.
  • Epidural or spine block anesthesia will be given to the mother to keep her conscious but numb.
  • Certain medications may be given to keep her numb during the surgery.
  • Urine will be drained out through the catheter.
  • Antacids may be given to the mother to prevent damage to the lung tissues due to high.levels of acid (in case of general anesthesia is given which raises acid level).
  • Antibiotics may be given through an IV, to prevent the infection/s.

During the procedure:

  • Once the epidural is working, the doctor will make an incision, right above the pubic bone and then reach up to the uterus. Later, separates the abdominal muscles.
  • The doctor will make a horizontal cut into the lower part of uterus (low-transverse uterine incision).
  • Rarely, the doctor may have to choose to make a vertical incision in the uterus in certain circumstances.
  • The baby will be pulled out and the cord will be separated.
  • Experts will start the procedure of closing the incisions once the placenta is delivered.
  • Stitches given in the uterus will get dissolved, whereas stitches on upper layer of skin will be removed within a week.

After the procedure:

  • After the procedure, the mother will be closely monitored for several hours.
  • The mother will not be able to eat or drink for some time, so fluids may be given through IV.
  • The doctor may ask to give a try for breastfeed.
  • The mother may have to take certain medications prescribed to her.
  • The doctor may advise walking for a while as an exercise (it prevents blood clotting).
  • Complete recovery may take longer than the normal delivery.

What are the dangers of having a caesarean section?

Having a C-section may increase the risk of the following:

Risks to the newborn:

  • Breathing abnormalities in newborn (baby may breathe faster for a few days after the delivery).
  • If the baby is born before 39 weeks of pregnancy, there might be difficulty in breathing.
  • Injury during the surgery.

Risks to the mother:

  • Endometriosis(fever, foul-odor of vaginal discharge and pain)
  • Other infections on surgical site
  • Blood loss
  • Severe headache as a consequence of anesthesia.
  • Blood coagulation, especially in the veins of leg.
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot enters in to the lung).
  • Injury during the procedure which may lead to another surgery.
  • Increased complications in future delivery.
  • Constipation
  • Discomfort

Care after C-section

  • Take sufficient rest
  • Keep necessary belongings nearby.
  • Maintain appropriate posture by supporting the abdomen with the help ofa belt provided.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, including water, milkshakes and fruit juices.
  • Take prescribed medications on time.
  • Avoid sex for at least four to six weeks after the delivery.

When to attend a doctor right away?

See a doctor immediately in case of following signs:

  • High fever (> 38 C/ 100.4 F)
  • Redness and swelling on the surgical site
  • Vaginal discharge with bad odor
  • Pain during urination
  • Larger clots in bleeding
  • Severe pain or swelling in the legs
  • Depression which is often indicated by loss of appetite, mood swings and fatigue.


*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.