Having a caesarean delivery


Having a caesarean delivery

Commonly referred to as a c-section, a caesarean delivery is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made in your abdomen and uterus to allow the delivery of your baby. C-sections can be planned or unplanned.

A planned c-section is one in which you know ahead of your delivery that you will be having a c-section. Some reasons why your doctor may recommend a planned c-section include:

  • Your baby is in a breech (bottom first) or traverse (lying sideways) position.
  • Your placenta is sitting low, near or across your cervix.

In these cases, you will plan a date and time for your delivery with your doctor, which will allow you to prepare for your delivery.

An unplanned c-section occurs after you’ve started labour, but your doctor has reason to believe that a c-section must be performed. This can happen when:

  • Your labour is progressing slowly.
  • There is concern about you or your baby’s condition.
  • There are problems with the umbilical cord.
  • Your baby appears too big to fit through your birth canal.

If you need to have an unplanned c-section, your doctor will keep you informed of any concerns and discuss the procedure with you.

Whether you need to go through a planned or unplanned c-section, your midwives and obstetrician are available to provide all the support and information you need before, during and after your procedure.

What happens during the procedure?

If you’re having a planned c-section, be sure to review our pre-admission checklist and follow any orders given to you by your doctor for the day before your scheduled delivery.

When it’s time, you will be given a regional anesthetic, such as an epidural or spinal injection, that will numb the lower half of your body. You will be awake during the procedure but you will not feel any pain.

If the c-section is unplanned, the anaesthetist will discuss anesthetic options with you.

The doctor will make an incision across your abdomen, cutting through the fatty tissue layers and your uterus. As the doctor delivers your baby through the incision, you may feel some movement or sensations if you are awake, but there will be no pain. If you feel pain, tell your doctor immediately.

Your doctor will clear your baby’s nose and mouth and clamp the umbilical cord. Your baby will be wrapped and passed to you or your birthing partner. You will be able to bond with your baby while the doctor delivers your placenta and closes your incision.

The whole procedure should take approximately 30 to 40 minutes.


The recovery time after a c-section is much longer than a vaginal birth. Most mothers that go through a c-section will stay in hospital for around five to six days.

During this time you will likely feel very tired and sore. There will be some discomfort and pain around your incision. Your doctor will prescribe pain relief if needed. You may also find it difficult to move and perform some tasks for your baby. Don’t worry – this is completely normal and our maternity team will be there to provide support every step of the way.

In the weeks following your c-section, it’s important to follow any orders given to you by your doctor. This may be difficult with the arrival of your new bub, but it’s important to look after yourself.

Don’t lift anything heavy for at least six to eight weeks, and make sure you get as much rest as possible. A healthy diet and appropriate exercise are also important while you heal.

If you have any concerns about your recovery, our knowledgeable staff are ready to help.