What to expect during a caesarean birth?

cesarean birth
Everything you need to know about c-section births

What is a caesarean section?

A caesarean section or c-section is where the baby is delivered via surgery. The surgeon cuts an incision through the stomach and uterus wall and the baby is delivered via that incision (as shown above).

It is called a ‘caesarean’ because it derives from the Latin word ‘caedare’ which means ‘to cut’. There is some debate as to whether it stems from the Julius Caesar being the first person delivered this way and or at least a practise which was done by the ancient Romans. But it is hard to be definitive about this.

Being cut through the stomach wall and uterus sounds painful. So before we get there, let’s talk –

Why its good to see your anaesthetist before giving birth?

Your are entering the great unknown and whilst you are an expert in your own field, you may not know as much about your options when giving birth. We always recommend where possible to educate yourself and understand your options as much as possible.

In the video below, Donna (our midwife) and Dr. Nathan Judd (Anaethetist at Adelaide Anaesthetic Service) discuss this very fact at length. Have a listen to get some great insights into certain risk factors which may further drive your decision.

This doesn’t just refer to caesarean sections, but also epidurals or an induced labour.

Play Video about Dr Nathan Judd speaking about aesthetic options

You get the bill from them, but what does the anaesthetist do for you during birth?

You listened to Dr. Nathan and when and spoke to an anaesthetist. And they spoke to you all about the risks and considerations with the painkillers and procedures you may need during birth.

But don’t be put off, be rest assured, it is still all your decision about how all these things happen. Watch Donna and Nathan speak about consent and how you are very much in control of your own destiny.

Dr Nathan also speaks about some great strategies to over come anxiety or hesitation about medication during childbirth. It is your body and your care, make sure they care caring for your health – whether that is emotional, physical or mental health. You aren’t putting them out, that is their job.

There’s a bit more to anaesthesiology than I thought, even the sneaky photographer role:)

Play Video about Dr Nathan Judd speaking on the role of an anaesthesiologist

Wait a minute, what are the three options for anaesthetic during a caesarean operation?

That off-hand comment in the previous video caught me off as well. I thought there was only a spinal anaesthetic but apparently there is more! Hear Dr Nathan talk about the 3 options facing you when you are about to have a caesarean.

If you are interested in epidurals, we talk more about that procedure here.

Play Video about Dr Nathan Todd speaking about GA for caesarean

Before we go to much further, we need to talk risks. What are they?

It is important to have a really good understanding of the risks associated with taking medications during labour, birth and beyond.

We have all heard of the horror stories about permanent nerve damage, back pain or persistent numbness, Dr Nathan helps put that in perspective. He also details some of the lesser know side effects and their potential impact on your life style. 

Some great insights into safe medication use and storage – worth taking note of. Not just with regards to pregnancy medication, but all medication that we might have in the house.

Play Video about dr nathan speaking about risks associated with pain medication

How are spinal anaesthetics is given?

We have given consent and now are at the stage of getting an epidural or a spinal anaesthetic. But what does that process look like and how does it work?

Donna and Dr Nathan go into some depth about how they insert the anaesthetic, some risk factors associated with inserting the canula, what you can expect to feel and what impact this anaesthetic will have on your body. 

Play Video about Dr Nathan Todd speaking about the epidural process

Ok, so we got the spinal anaesthetic. Now what?

OK, so consent is given – we are good to go. So what should I expect to feel during the caesarean operation, (also commonly called c-section or caesarean section). Whilst the operation is largely safe these days, a typical vaginal birth is generally considered safer.

Typically a caesarean is only recommended when

  • Your baby is in the wrong position (such as breech or transverse).
  • You previously had a caesarean (although vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) is certainly possible).
  • Placenta previa, the placenta is blocking the cervix.
  • You are having an at risk pregnancy (i.e. multiple births or some other medical condition).

You might be interested to know, induced labours do not increase the chance of a caesarean section. We talk more about that in this post.

Donna and Dr Nathan delve into how long a caesarean operation normally takes? What you can expect to feel during the caesarean section and how much you can move.

I like the idea that it will just drift away. Not sure, it is totally that dreamy though.

Play Video about what to expect during your caesarean

Phew, its over! Now for recovery and loving this baby.

Finally after 9 long months, it is over! Congratulation’s and great work mum. 

Now for the recovery side of things. Often this is missed and all the focus goes to the baby. But a healthy, well mum makes for a health and well baby. This recovery stage is every bit as important as the 9 months you have spent growing this baby.

Take careful note of what Dr Nathan speaks about of particular note, make sure you are feeling pain free enough to get up and about. I found particularly interesting the conversation about pain medications and the impact of that on your ability to function and breastfeed. Well worth a watch. 

Generally the stitches and wound should heal over a 6 week period post caesarean.

Play Video about recovery from caesarean

Have questions about looking after your baby?

We are glad you asked, because this is exactly what we do. Goldilocks is a next generation baby monitor that tracks your baby’s feeding, sleep, breathing, skin and core temperature.

But we don’t just track, we also provide insights and advice from clinicians (just like those you have see above) right when you need them.

You can find out more about what we do here.

Play Video

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information provided on this website is not intended to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters we recommend consulting with your local healthcare professional

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The Team at Goldilocks Pty Ltd

The Team at Goldilocks Pty Ltd

We've designed the unique Goldilocks Suit baby monitoring system to help make parenting easier.


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