Monday, 27 May 2013

Pregnancy & Childbirth : Caesarean (C-section)

Gynaecologist Dr T. Mokaya explains the two cuts you might get while bringing your newborn into this world.

Caesarean (C-section)

A C-section is the delivery of a baby through a surgical cut that your doctor makes on your stomach and womb. In some cases, a C’section is planned in advance, while with others it's done because of an unexpected problem.

  • Sometimes it's clear that you will need a C’section even before you go into labour.
  • This happens if:
  • You've had some kind of surgery, including a C’section. Having more than one C’section increases the risk that your uterus will tear if you choose a vaginal delivery.
  • You're carrying more than one baby. Some twins can be delivered vaginally, but more often multiple babies during birth require a C’section.
  • Your baby is expected to be very big.
  • Your baby is in a breech (bottom mrst) or transverse (sideways) position.
  • You have placenta previa (when the placenta is so low in the uterus that it covers the cervix).
  • You're HIV’positive and blood tests done near the end of pregnancy show that you have a high viral load.

Doctors perform a C’section because of problems that you might have during labour.
These include:
  • Your cervix stops dilating (expanding) or your baby stops moving down the birth canal.
  • The umbilical cord slips through your cervix. If this happens, your baby needs to be delivered immediately because the cord can cut off his oxygen supply.
  • Your placenta starts to separate from your uterine wall, which means your baby won't get enough oxygen.
  • You have a genital herpes outbreak when you go into labour. Delivering your baby by C’section will help him avoid infection.

After local anaesthetic the doctor will make a small cut above your pubic bone (near your hipbone). She will cut through the underlying tissue, working her way down to your uterus. When she reaches your stomach muscles, she'll separate and spread them to expose the baby.
The doctor will then reach in and pull out your baby. Once the cord is cut, you'll have a chance to see the baby brieny before he's handed to a paediatrician or nurse. While the staff is examining your newborn, the doctor will begin the process of closing you up.
After the surgery is complete, you'll be taken to a recovery room, where you'll be monitored for a few hours.

You can expect to stay in the hospital for about three days.

After having a C’section, you still need to wait about six weeks before having sex. Your doctor or nurse should give you the go ahead as they will want to ensure that your cut is healing and that your bleeding has stopped.


An episiotomy is a surgical cut in the area between the vagina and the anus. It is made just before delivery to widen your vaginal opening, allowing the baby to be delivered more easily.

Read more about the Episiotomy here.

Both these cuts are manageable and will heal as long as you take care of the wounds. Contact your doctor if you think there might be a problem while you are still healing.

Cuts of life: C-Section
By Amanda Ndlangisa
Bona Magazine

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