Cesarean Birth: What to Expect

Advance planning can make a cesarean, whether expected or unexpected, a much more satisfying experience. Spend time choosing and interviewing your healthcare provider. Request a tour of the hospital's labor and childbirth areas. Be sure your childbirth classes include information on cesarean birth. Here is more information on the four stages of a cesarean: Preparation, anesthesia, surgery and recovery.

The staff first draws a blood sample from your arm and requests a urine sample. Your physician gives you a thorough medical exam. You'll also be asked to sign a form that gives the physician permission to perform the surgery. An anesthesiologist will discuss the type of anesthesia to be used.

The staff then takes your blood pressure, pulse and temperature; listens to the baby's heartbeat; and in most cases does a limited shave of the hair in your pubic area.

To allow continuous drainage of urine during the surgery, a small catheter will be inserted into your bladder through your urinary canal. Neither food nor water is allowed. If any of these procedures makes you anxious, remember to use your breathing and relaxation techniques.

About an hour before surgery you'll be transferred to a gurney for transport to the delivery room. During surgery, you'll be able to wear glasses, but the staff may ask you to remove any dentures, contact lenses and nail polish.

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