Learning About Your Health
Your Scheduled Cesarean Birth
- What is a Cesarean Birth (C-Section)?
- How Do I Prepare for a Scheduled C-Section?
- What Can I Expect on the Day of the C-Section?
- What Can I Expect After a C-Section?
- What Can I Expect When I Go Home?
What is a Cesarean Birth (C-Section)?
A cesarean birth (C-Section) is an abdominal operation performed to deliver a baby when a vaginal delivery is not possible or safe. Your doctor performs a cesarean birth by making an incision in the abdomen and uterus to remove the baby.
Note: Nearly 30% of all births in the United States are now done by cesarean section.(Martin JA et al) California Pacific Medical Center cesarean birth rate is about 27%.(CPMC Data)
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How Do I Prepare for a Scheduled C-Section?
Your doctor will discuss with you when to schedule your cesarean birth. You may want to plan for a tour of the Women and Children's Center at the hospital. You and your partner/support person will learn where to check-in. You can arrange a tour by calling 415-600-BABY.
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What Can I Expect on the Day of the C-Section?
- Please note: Nothing to eat or drink 8 hours before your surgery – including NO coffee, water, Lifesavers®, and chewing gum, unless otherwise ordered by your doctor. If you have had something to eat or drink, please tell your doctor.
- Before you leave home, call OB Reception (415-600-2100) to make sure things are on schedule. Occasionally, emergency situations may cause a delay.
- On the day of your surgery, come to OB Reception - located on the lobby level of 3700 California Street, Main Hospital, just off Cherry Street.
- Please arrive two (2) hours before your scheduled surgery time. Note: If you had your blood drawn (in the hospital) the day before surgery, please arrive one (1) hour before your surgery.
- A nurse meets you in the OB reception area and prepares you for the delivery. The nurse monitors the baby’s heart rate, draws your blood for routine tests, starts an IV line and clips the hair/shaves the incision site, if needed.
- Also, the anesthesiologist meets with you and your partner/support person to explain the options for anesthesia.
- The nurse gives you an antacid solution to drink before you go to the operating room.
- Once inside the operating room, the anesthesiologist explains everything about your anesthesia – usually a spinal or epidural. Then, the nurse places a "Foley" catheter (thin tube) into your bladder to keep it empty during the surgery.
- At delivery, the baby is handed over to the pediatric team and dried off under a warmer. The baby’s nose and mouth are gently suctioned. Your baby is wrapped snugly in blankets and you may see, touch and hold your baby.
- After you have had time with your baby, he or she goes to the nursery with a nurse and your partner/support person.
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What Can I Expect After a C-Section?
- After surgery, you go to the recovery room. A nurse monitors you carefully for about 2 hours. If your baby is warm and healthy, he or she may stay with you in the recovery room.
- You move to your postpartum room with your baby once you are stable. We encourage you to keep your baby in the room with you as much as possible during your hospital stay so you can really get to know your baby.
- Plan to stay in the hospital for 3-4 days after the delivery.
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What Can I Expect When I Go Home?
Your nurse reviews Home Care Instructions with you before you go home. Instructions include breastfeeding/bottle feeding your baby, how to care for your incision, any activity limitations you may have, and warning signals to watch out for at home for you and your baby. Please also review the "You and Your Newborn" patient education book.
1 Martin, J.A., Hamilton, B.E., Menacker, F., Sutton, P.D., Mathews, T.J. Preliminary Births for 2004: Infant and Maternal Health. Health E-Stats. Released November, 2005.
2 California Pacific Medical Center data for 2005.
Produced by the Center for Patient and Community Education in association with the Women and Children's Center at California Pacific Medical Center. Date: 3/06
Funded by: A generous donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Ciocca Foundation.
Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).
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