February 28th, 2022

What Happens During a C-Section?

Written By: Lexi C

About 1 in 3 babies are delivered via Cesarean in the U.S. If your doctor has scheduled one for you, you’ll want to know what to expect. Being mentally and emotionally prepared for a Cesarean and being aware of what the procedure entails is a good idea for every pregnant woman.

We’re breaking down the answers for you here, simply and clearly, so you know what to expect.

 

Who Performs a C-Section?

Your OB-GYN will perform your C-section, along with a team that includes an anesthesiologist, nurses (which may include a scrub nurse, delivery nurse, and neonatal nurse), and other medical personnel, such as a secondary surgeon.

 

Who Can Be In The Room During a C-Section?

Most hospitals allow just one individual in the room with you during a C-section. That person can be your co-parent, your mom, a good friend, or even a doula (they’re not just for vaginal births). However, if you end up having what’s considered an emergency C-section, hospital policy may bar anyone else from being in the room with you. Ask your OB-GYN about the possible scenarios so you know what to expect.

 

What Happens During a C-Section / How Does a C-Section Even Work?

During a C-section, your surgeon will make an incision through your abdomen – usually horizontal – another through your uterus, and then your baby will be extracted.

 The abdominal incision is usually made about one or two inches above the pubic hairline and is about 4-6 inches wide; your doctor will gently part the abdominal muscles, make a second incision through your uterus (also 4-6 inches wide), and deliver your baby. You won’t feel pain but may experience pressure or a pulling sensation. The type of uterine incision chosen may vary. You’ll also have a catheter inserted in your bladder and be hooked up to monitors that track your heart rate, blood pressure, etc., as you would with other surgeries.

Once the baby is out, suction will be applied to his or her mouth and nose to clear the airway, the umbilical cord will be clamped and cut, and you’ll likely be able to see your baby immediately after that, just as with a vaginal birth.

Post-extraction your doctor will remove your placenta, close your uterine incision with dissolvable stitches, and then close your abdominal incision with either surgical staples, stitches, or glue.

Does a C-Section Cut Abdomibal Muscles?

Abdominal muscles can be cut during a C-section, but it’s not standard practice – in most cases your doctor will simply pull them apart to get to your uterus.

"From the first incision to your baby being laid on your chest to getting stitched up and wheeled out of the OR, the procedure typically takes about 40 minutes."

What The Heck Is a T-Incision C-Section?

So-called “T-incisions” are used on the uterine wall to access the womb and extract the baby. This method is the standard practice of OB-GYNs performing C-sections. They look like an upside-down “T” and make future, vaginal births a more viable option for you.

Will My Organs And Intestines Be Taken Out During a C-Section?

Nope, not usually. Your doctor will gently push them aside, just like they push aside your abdominal muscles, to get to your uterus and the baby. In some rare cases, your intestines may be temporarily taken out to help make it easier for your surgical team to see what they’re doing.

Anesthesia level will be determined by your medical team beforehand – you can expect to be conscious but numb from the waist down this is done or you may be put completely under with general anesthesia, depending on the situation. If it’s the latter you’ll wake up with a baby, and – not gonna lie – be immediately hit with post-op pain.

How Long Does a C-Section Take?

From the first incision to your baby being laid on your chest to getting stitched up and wheeled out of the OR, the procedure typically takes about 40 minutes.

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