According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 5 childbirths in the world is now done via a C-section, and the numbers are continually increasing. Reports also suggest that C-sections will increase to 29% by 2030.
Cesarean deliveries are only performed when there is a medical need, and natural vaginal birth isn’t ideal for the safety of the mother and the fetus. If you are confused, a C-section or Cesarean delivery involves childbirth via incisions on the abdomen and uterus.
This article will explore all the details you need to know about C-section delivery, its significance, recovery time, and allied information.
In this Article
- 1 When Does one Need a C-Section Delivery?
- 2 How is a C-Section Performed?
- 3 What are the Risks Associated with C-Section?
- 4 How is Recovery After a C-Section?
- 5 How to Speed Up Recovery after C-Section?
- 6 What is the Cost of C-Section Delivery in India?
- 7 FAQs
- 8 Conclusion
When Does one Need a C-Section Delivery?
As we mentioned, a C-section delivery is a delivery method that is only done when there is a medical need to ensure the safety of the mother and the child.
Several labor and delivery complications warrant the need for an immediate (and often unplanned) C-section childbirth. Some of the common conditions that could raise a need for a C-section delivery are:
Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD)
This is a common complication during delivery, wherein the size of the baby’s head is significantly larger, making it difficult for them to get through the birth canal. Not just the head but even the baby’s position and the anatomy of the mother’s pelvis might require an immediate C-section.
History of C-Section
Most mothers who have had a C-section for their prior pregnancy must undergo a C-section for their consecutive childbirths to reduce potential risks to the reproductive anatomy and the baby’s health. A very small percentage of women with prior C-sections opt for a vaginal birth (VBAC).
If you are expecting twins, having a safety net with a C-section delivery is ideal. It doesn’t mean that twins or multiple pregnancies can’t be delivered naturally but since such pregnancies come with potential risk factors, having C-section as an option is always favored.
A breech presentation is when the baby’s bottom is down instead of its head. There are three different types of breech presentation: complete breech, Frank breech, and Footling breech. In such situations, your doctor will first try to physically change the baby’s position with external pressure on the abdomen. But, if that doesn’t work, the last option is to perform a C-section.
Another pregnancy and labor complication that requires an immediate C-section is a condition called placenta previa. A low-lying positioning of the placenta is determined to cause obstruction in front of the cervix, preventing the baby from descending the birth canal for a vaginal birth.
Pregnant women with heart conditions, genital herpes, etc., are scheduled for a C-section to ensure the optimal safety of both the mother and the baby.
The conditions mentioned above often lead to a planned C-section, where the to-be parents and the doctor sit down and discuss the available options. However, multiple complications that need immediate and unplanned C-section intervention arise out of the blue during the delivery.
Some of these complications are:
- When labor isn’t progressing
- There is an umbilical cord compression
- There is an umbilical cord prolapse
- There is placental abruption
- The fetus is in distress in the womb
C-sections are fairly common and very safe with the current medical advancements. If you are at risk, it is always ideal for creating a birthing plan before the actual labor and delivery to ensure everything progresses smoothly and without complications.
How is a C-Section Performed?
A C-section is a surgical intervention to ensure the smooth and safe delivery of the fetus. The procedure is either done under a spinal anesthetic or an epidural. Since delivery and childbirth are extremely special memories for the parents, the procedure is not done under general anesthesia.
Once the anesthesia is administered, the OBGYN makes a cut across the abdomen and the womb, measuring 10-20 cm in length.
The fetus is delivered from the cut made, and further tests are conducted as normal to ensure the baby is in good health after birth.
A handful of women who have undergone C-sections for one pregnancy opt for a vaginal birth for their consecutive pregnancies. However, VBAC is quite a risky procedure and not suitable for every pregnant woman.
What are the Risks Associated with C-Section?
Although a life-saving and necessary medical intervention, a C-section has its fair share of risks. Since it involves incision and surgical procedures, there are heightened risks of:
- Wound or incision infection
- Blood loss
- Blood clots
- Potential injury to accessory organs like the bladder or bowel
- Side-effects of anesthesia
- Complications in future pregnancies
- Incisions that might weaken the uterine wall
- Fetal injury
- Besides the associated risks, a C-section surgery also imposes a lot of consequences, including:
- A prolonged recovery period
- Risks of chronic pelvic pain
- Lesser chances of vaginal birth for the next pregnancies
- Trouble breastfeeding
- Baby might have heightened chances of breathing problems
Despite these risks and complications, you need to understand that a C-Section delivery is a medical necessity for the safety of the baby and the mother. So, even though there are post-operative complications, you need to realize that it’s a life-saving procedure at that particular moment.
How is Recovery After a C-Section?
A C-section has a longer recovery period compared to a natural birth. Generally, the pain from the incision on the abdomen is manageable until the anesthesia and IV pain medications wear off.
Recovery until two to three days after a C-section is the hardest. You might feel sharp, shooting pain when breathing. It is due to the tenderness of the incision. Ensure that you have someone by your side to help you through this recovery period.
The complete C-section recovery time takes somewhere between 4-6 weeks. During this period, you will need to avoid the following:
- Heavy lifting
- Strenuous activities
- Going up and down the stairs
- Excessive cooking or cleaning
The first six weeks are when you must be most careful with your recovery. Your OBGYN will guide you on the steps you need to follow to quicken and smooth the recovery process. Driving is out of the question for the first 6-8 weeks.
Witnessing vaginal bleeding or spotting during the recovery after a C-section is pretty normal. However, the pain at the incision site might be unbearable with pain medications, so your doctor will prescribe the needed over-the-counter medications.
Alongside spotting, vaginal discharge after giving birth is common. Unless you notice heavy and uncontrolled vaginal bleeding, there’s not much about which you have to worry.
How to Speed Up Recovery after C-Section?
Every woman’s birthing experience is different. If one thing is similar for every woman after a C-section, it is a difficult recovery.
There are several risks and complications associated with a C-section. But a handful of tips can make the process easier and more comfortable to deal with.
1. Prioritize Rest
Undergoing a C-section surgery is exhausting for the mother’s body. Given how vital the surgery is, rest is crucial to recuperating from the surgery’s aftermath.
We understand that getting rest with a newborn sounds impossible, but that’s where you need your partner’s or your family’s help.
If you don’t have anyone accessible, focus on getting some sleep when the baby is sleeping. Ensuring that your body gets the much-needed rest is crucial to recover from the surgery and its impacts in the long run.
2. Manage Pain
The demands of new parenting are very hard. And, actively being in pain isn’t necessary, especially when you can rely on OTC pain medications.
Your OBGYN will prescribe you the much-needed analgesics needed to recover from the surgery. So, don’t brush them to the side. Instead, focus on taking your medications on time to be as present as possible for your baby.
3. Ask for Help
Parenting after a C-section can be difficult. It is physically and emotionally taxing on the mother; you don’t have to be ashamed to ask for help when needed.
You can ask your partner for help if you feel drained or exhausted. If you are a single parent, reach out for the help of your friends and family.
Help is out there; you need to identify and ask for it when needed.
4. Focus on your Emotions
C-section deliveries can be emotionally taxing on the mother. Surgical interventions, in any form, might be a traumatic experience.
Instead of recoiling and suppressing your emotions, acknowledge them. Many women have heightened risks of experiencing post-partum depression and post-partum anxiety after a C-section.
Acknowledging emotions helps you take charge of your life. If you aren’t able to process your emotions, you can always reach out and discuss them with a professional instead.
5. Be Mindful of Infections
The risks of wound infection after a C-section are fairly common. While you are taking care of your newborn, you have to prioritize your health as well.
Common signs of infection include tenderness in the site of the incision, fever, chills, weakness, redness, pain in the incision, etc.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is crucial you consult your doctor immediately for the necessary medical interventions.
6. Alleviate Signs of Constipation
The body goes through a lot of physical strain after a C-section. Administration of medications and weaker stomach muscles might lead to risks of constipation. Exerting excess pressure during bowel movement might worsen the C-section wound and even lead to risks of hernia.
To alleviate these symptoms, drink enough water, consume laxatives, etc., to soften the stools so you don’t have to apply a lot of pressure.
What is the Cost of C-Section Delivery in India?
The C-section cost in India ranges between INR 50,000 to INR 2,50,000. The variation in the cost depends on the city you are getting the surgery, the hospital, the experience of the surgeon, etc.
The above-mentioned cost generally involves the C-section surgery package only. The pre and post-operative charges are separate.
Is C-section painful?
Undergoing the C-section procedure itself isn’t painful since it’s done under anesthesia. However, recovery after a C-section might be painful.
How many C-sections can one have?
There are no standard limitations to the number of C-sections a woman can have for childbirth. It generally depends on the pregnant mother’s medical history and reproductive health.
How long does a C-section surgery take?
A typical C-section procedure can take somewhere between 40-60 minutes. It might vary from one pregnancy to the other.
C-section isn’t a death omen, as many otherwise think. Instead, it is a life-saving procedure that ensures the safety of both the mother and the child. If you were confused about C-sections and the associated risks and complications, we hope this article gives you all the insights you possibly need to know.