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Birth & More | What to Expect from Birth

Caesarean Section

If you are reading this article it either means that your birth option of choice is a Caesar or that you are educating yourself just in case you need to have an emergency Caesar. Us women are way stronger than what we give ourselves credit for, so whether we have to deal with an excruciating 48 hours of being in labour or the abdominal pain a Caesar brings, we know that we will do just fine. Also, we know that there is no turning back once you’re pregnant! But one look at your little pink foot and all will be forgotten – that’s just the way it is! It’s called Grace. And it’s pretty amazing.


A caesarean may be planned (elective), which is quite common these days. But sometimes it’s not planned but the result of an emergency, which means that you would have been in labour first. A caesarean is a surgical delivery in which your baby is born through an incision in your uterine wall. You will need approximately six weeks to recover, as this is a major operation. You can forget about going about business as usual, including driving, for at least a few weeks. This is where you call in all the help that was offered to you so generously during your pregnancy!

It might come as a surprise to you, but life doesn’t always work out quite the way we so carefully plan it. You might want to have a natural birth, but due to complications you end up having a Casear. But it’s not the end of the world as you know it. The most important thing is that the baby does not get distressed and that mom and baby are out of danger. If it means having a Caesar then so be it – it’s your gynae’s job to ensure that you get the best treatment for your unique situation, and by understanding his reason for doing a Caesar you will eventually find peace with his decision. You’ll have a lot of time to bond with your little one afterwards.

With a caesarean you will more than likely be able to walk around a few hours after your op. The nursing staff will encourage you to, as it will help you get over the pain quicker. So even though you won’t at that stage find it very tempting, do it anyway.

There are two options when having a caesarean: getting an epidural (being awake) or having general anaesthetic (being asleep). With an emergency caesar you will have to have general anaesthetic, as there is not time to administer an epidural.

With an elective Caesar your partner will be allowed to sit in on the operation. A chair gets placed at the top of your bed, and he may have the option of viewing the procedure – or at least part thereof. A screen will be set up between you and your gynae as to spare you the gooey details. You can ask him to lower the screen, however, as the baby is being born.

A Caesar doesn’t have to be a negative experience, you just need to get your mind around it – especially if you weren’t quite prepared for one. It is actually better to prepare yourself for both a natural birth and a Caesar, even if all the signs point to a natural birth. This way you will go in educated if the need for a Caesar arises.

What to expect

  • Your hubby/partner will be dressed in sterile garb – this should at least get a smile out of you! He will sit at the top of the bed so he can hold your hand and give you emotional support.
  • The epidural/spinal block will be administered. This is not painful, and your legs and a part of your upper body will go numb in seconds.
  • A catheter will be inserted. At this stage you won’t feel a thing.
  • Your abdomen will be wiped with an antiseptic solution.
  • It’s natural to feel cold and shiver uncontrollably, but try to relax and take deep breaths. This is a good time to go to your quiet place!
  • An incision in your lower abdomen will be made once your gynae is happy with the effect of the anaesthetic. You may have the feeling of being “unzipped”.
  • The second incision is made in your uterus where the amniotic sac is opened. If it hasn’t been ruptured before now, the fluid will be suctioned out.
  • This is the moment that you have been waiting so long for: your baby will be eased out slowly. You may feel some pressure as well as some pulling and tugging… this is where you tell your partner to stop whispering sweet nothings and start giving you some aggressive support! You can ask your gynae to lower the screen if you don’t want to miss out on your baby’s arrival.
  • Baby’s mouth and nose will now be suctioned and, brace yourself for the beautiful noise of his or her first cry!
  • The baby’s umbilical cord will clamped and cut – by your partner if he is feeling brave. The placenta will then be removed while your newborn baby is being monitored.
  • After your reproductive organs have been checked, the incisions will be stitched up – using either stitches or surgical staples.
  • Depending on mom and baby’s condition, as well as hospital rules, you may or may not be able to hold your little one right there in the delivery room. In most cases mom will be taken to the recovery room, thereafter back to the ward where the staff will bring you your precious bundle of joy after he or she has had a bath.

Remember that the choice of delivery is entirely up to you as the mother-to-be. There is no right or wrong way of doing this, no matter what you’ve been told. Choose the kind of delivery that you (and your gynae) feel most comfortable with, as you and your baby will both benefit from your peace of mind.


  • G. Ezzo & R. Bucknam: On Becoming Baby Wise. 1998: Multnomah Books, USA.

3 Responses to “Caesarean Section”

  1. [...] may also be interested in these articles: What to expect from delivery – Part 1: Natural Birth What to expect from delivery – Part 2: Caesarean Section You may also be interested in these articles: Part 1 – Natural BirthWhat to Pack For Your Hospital [...]

  2. almerie says:

    whant to know can we travel a long distance after 3 weeks if I have an caesern section?

  3. Editor says:

    Hi Almerie
    It’s advisable not to drive (yourself) for up to 6 weeks after a caesarean. If someone else is doing the driving, it probably depends on how urgent this trip is. It won’t be comfortable and might have a negative effect on your healing process. Perhaps just run this past your gynae!

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