What is a Caesarian Section?

By  , Expert Content
Jan 24, 2013

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What is a Caesarian Section

Cesarean delivery or C-section is a surgery done to deliver the baby by surgical procedure. During the surgery the obstetrician makes a cut through your belly and uterus (womb) to take the baby out of the uterus. It's the commonest major surgery now-a-days that is done in women. Cesarean delivery or C-section can be an elective or unplanned surgery.


[Read: What is required after a Caesarian Section?]


Elective cesarean: This is done as a planned procedure before the labor begins. Many women now-a-days opt for it to avoid pain and discomfort of labour.

Emergency cesarean: It is not planned before labor begins and is done if the doctor thinks that the labour is not progressing well or there is a risk of complication for the mother or the baby due to vaginal delivery. However only a few unplanned cases are genuine emergencies. In most unplanned cesareans there is enough time for you, your partner/spouse, and the maternity staff to prepare well for the operation.


If the cesarean is done in real emergency, the time from incision to delivery is very less (about 2-5 minutes). If it is done as a non-emergency procedure a cesarean birth can take 10 to 15 minutes from start of the surgery. After the delivery about 45 minutes are needed for delivery of the placenta and suture the incisions (in the uterus and skin).


[Read: Risks and Benefits of Caesarean Section]


There are many reasons for which you may need a cesarean section. Some of the common reasons for which C-section may be done are done in following conditions:


  • Non-progression of pains or labour.
  • Big baby, or big head of the baby, which may not be able to pass safely through birth canal.
  • Previous cesarean section. Normal vaginal delivery can be done after a previous C-section but it is not an option for all women.
  • Multiple pregnancy, i.e. twin or more babies –as it is a safer option of delivery especially the second baby.
  • Placenta abnormality such as placenta previa.
  • Abnormal position of the baby –breech (the baby is positioned to deliver feet or bottom first rather than head) or transverse lie (baby is horizontal or sideways in position in the uterus).


After C-section delivery you will have to stay in the hospital for about 3 to 4 days. The time needed to recover after C-section is longer than it takes after a vaginal delivery. It takes about 4 weeks for the surgical incision to heal, and you may continue to have occasional pains in the area in the first year after the surgery. If you're pregnant, discuss with your doctor to know what to expect during a C-section. This can help you to prepare in case it is needed as an emergency procedure.

Read more articles on Childbirth (Delivery)


Risks and Benefits of Caesarean Section

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