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When is an emergency caesarean section neccesary?

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A caesarean section is major surgery; an emergency caesarean section will be performed when a normal vaginal birth is not going to plan. If you or your baby could be at risk during a vaginal birth then your doctor may want to switch to an emergency caesarean operation.

It can be absolutely heart-breaking and terrifying at the same time for the pregnant woman and her family and can be a huge shock. In an emergency situation the baby needs to be delivered as quickly as possible and in this case a caesarean can be the safest way to protect mother and baby. It may be made more difficult as there may not be enough time to discuss things properly with the midwife or doctor as the need to act quickly.

Prenatal pregnant belly

When would you need a caesarean?

An emergency caesarean section may need to be carried out due to a labour that is not progressing, the baby is not getting enough oxygen, the placenta is low lying in the womb (placenta praevia), the baby is breech or the pregnant woman has vaginal bleeding during labour.

A caesarean is usually carried out under a regional anesthetic where only the lower part of the body is numbed; this means you will be awake during the procedure. An epidural is the regional anaesthetic which will be injected into your spine. A catheter will be inserted into your bladder and you may be given a pain relief injection and antibiotics.

There will be a screen placed across your stomach so that you do not have to watch the operation, when the baby is born the screen can be lowered so that you can see your baby. Your birth partner will usually be allowed into theatre with you; this can be very reassuring and means that they can also be there for the birth.

The operation will take around 45 minutes, or in an emergency caesarean section can take as little as 30 minutes. A horizontal incision will be made across your bikini line allowing the surgeon room to make another incision to the wall of your womb so that they can deliver your baby.

When baby is born you will be able to see and touch him or her before they are taken to the back of the room to be weighed and checked over. You will then be given an injection to reduce blood loss and encourage your womb to contract.

As soon as your placenta has been removed the surgeon will then begin to close the wall of your womb and your abdomen with dissolvable stitches.

You will then be monitored before being moved onto the ward with your baby. Your baby may need to be monitored further in the special care baby unit but you will be kept updated by the staff regularly.

emergency caesarean

I feel like I have been cheated out of my natural birth

Some women find the experience traumatic and upsetting as they haven’t been able to carry out the birth plan that they have envisaged. Not being able to labour vaginally can make the mother feel as though they have been cheated the experience. These feelings are absolutely normal and common but should be discussed with a healthcare professional if they are causing long lasting upset.

Realising that an unplanned or emergency caesarean section is a possibility in every pregnancy can make women feel less emotionally traumatised in the event that it happens. The decision to go with an emergency surgery is made very quickly and is made to save the life of the mother or the baby or both.

 

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