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What To Expect In Your C-Section Procedure Step By Step

πŸŽ‰ Welcome superhero mommies! πŸ¦Έβ€β™€οΈ If you’ve ever wondered what happens in a c-section procedure step by step from beginning to end, you are in the right place!

Let’s start this journey with a big high-five to all the incredible women out there who are about to embark on one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking adventures of their lives: bringing a tiny human into this world! 🌟

If you find yourself on Team C-section, we’re here to cheer you on, provide you with all the information you need, and make sure you’re well-prepared for your big day.

We know that the thought of surgery can be a tad intimidating, but fret not, because we’re about to demystify the C-section procedure for you.

Let’s go step by step through what to expect in your surgery, and turn that anxiety into excitement.

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 1 – Make The Choice

Choosing a C-section should be a decision made when it’s clear that vaginal delivery is not the safest option for mom or baby. Approximately half of C-sections are preventable, but the other half can be lifesaving. It’s worth noting that one major reason for the uptick in C-sections is that some moms make the choice themselves. If you’ve done your homework, weighed the pros and cons, and decided that a C-section is the way you want to bring your baby into the world, that’s a valid choice.

There are several reasons why some moms opt for a planned C-section. Some want to make sure they’re emotionally prepared to care for their newborn after a previous traumatic birth, while others might believe they’re at high risk for an emergency C-section due to factors like a narrow pelvis, family history, or past birth experiences. Some first-time moms choose a C-section because they’ve had a deep-seated fear of childbirth and don’t want to go through it.

But remember, while some moms prefer surgery, there are situations where a C-section is medically necessary to ensure the safety of both mom and baby. This is true especially when there are concerns about fetal distress during labor. In those cases, life makes the decision for you.

Either way, the first step to having any c-section procedure is making the choice to give birth via surgery.

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 2 – Check Into The Hospital

If you’ve chosen the planned C-section path, your journey begins by checking into the hospital at your scheduled arrival time. Once there, a bit of paperwork awaits, as it usually does in these moments.

You’ll be warmly welcomed into a room where your diligent nurse will chat with you, asking a million little questions – all to ensure they provide you with the best possible care. Expect an IV to be placed, and you might find yourself with a bag of hydrating fluids hanging nearby.

Now, let’s not forget about your precious little one! Your baby will be closely monitored for a while to get a clear picture of how they’re doing before the surgery.

As for you, there might be some prep work involved, like cleaning and re-cleaning the area where the surgery will happen. And speaking of surgery, your doctor and the anesthesiologist (the folks who make sure you won’t feel any pain during the procedure) will swing by to introduce themselves and answer any lingering questions you may have.

If you’re heading into surgery after giving labor a try, some of these steps may already be checked off the list when you first arrived at the hospital. You’ll simply need to sign a consent form for the surgery, receive the IV if it hasn’t been done yet, and then fast forward to the next exciting chapter in your birth story.

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 3 – Say Goodbye To Pain

Ensuring your surgery and recovery journey is as smooth as possible hinges on effectively managing pain at every stage. Let me emphasize that this is a top priority. As you arrive in the operating room, your anesthesiologist will take the time to assess your pain levels thoroughly.

Now, when it comes to surgery, the majority of the time, you’ll be wide awake and alert for the experience. It’s worth noting that only about 6% of births involve moms being put under general anesthesia where you are asleep. This usually happens in emergencies when there’s simply no time for alternative pain management solutions or when those alternatives have proven ineffective or if a mom has an allergy to the other numbing medications.

How do you stay out of pain during surgery? You’ve got a few choices: there’s the spinal, the epidural, or a combination of both. These techniques are designed to work their magic by numbing the lower half of your body while you remain fully awake and aware for the birth of your baby.

If you’ve already had an epidural administered, chances are it’ll continue to be your trusty companion during surgery. Your anesthesiologist will bump up the power level and make the necessary adjustments to ensure you can’t feel a thing from your chest down.

On the flip side, a spinal block is a simple shot – it’s a one-time wonder, administered in your back. It also achieves the remarkable effect of numbing you from the chest down. Allowing you to embrace the birth experience with confidence.

Once you are out of pain – it’s time for the birthday party to begin!

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 4 – Getting Cozy In The Operating Room

πŸ‘‹ So, welcome to the operating room! Here’s the lowdown on what you might notice:

🌬️ First off, brace yourself for a bit of a chill.

Operating rooms tend to be cool, often hanging out in the low to mid-60s. But hey, if you start feeling like you’re auditioning for an ice princess role, don’t be shy – ask if they can crank up the heat a smidge. A slightly warmer OR has been known to do wonders, especially for those adorable little ones who can catch a chill in their first moments after birth.❄️

πŸ’‘ Next up, let there be light!

Operating rooms are known for their dazzling, eye-squinting brightness. 🌟 It’s like walking into a well-lit movie set. No need to bring sunglasses, but you can if you have sensitive eyes.

They call it a bed?

😬 Now, about that comfort factor –the bed in the OR is pretty firm – like being on a flat board. And – it has straps to hold your arms in a t-position away from your body. Don’t worry, The just to make sure you don’t accidentally reach down in the middle of surgery to itch, scratch or feel what’s happening. I know it seems like you wouldn’t – but sometimes it’s hard to over rule our natural instincts. One thing to know, those straps are often optional– you can wiggle your way out of them whenever you like. Your nurse will likely show you how.

Music For Anxiety

Pro tip for your OR adventure: Ask if your partner can DJ with their phone. 🎢 Studies have shown that anxiety levels drop when moms get to listen to their favorite music during surgery. AND you will forever have the memory of your baby being born to your favorite song.

πŸ‘‹ So, welcome to the operating room! It may be a bit different than you were planning, but it can be a beautiful place to give birth.

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 5 -Final Surgery Prep

Let’s walk through what’s happening just before the surgical show kicks off.

🚧 First on the checklist, the nurses will set up a drape, kind of like a magical curtain, right below your chest. This isn’t just for aesthetics; it marks the sacred “sterile zone.” Although everything in the OR should be sterile, your partner and support people should stay on the side by your head.

Another cool drape fact: You can request a drape with a clear window so you get to peek at your little superstar the moment they arrive. 🌟🍼

❄️ Next up, the anesthesiologist – the keeper of your comfort! They’ll give you one last check to make sure you’re feeling absolutely nothing where you shouldn’t. Pain shouldn’t exist any more. You know when your leg falls asleep? You know it’s there, you can kinda sense it, but it’s not the same? It will feel a lot like that – minus any tingling sensations.

πŸ“£ Last is a little roll call! πŸ—£οΈ Before surgery starts, everyone will go around the room, state their name and their role during the surgery. Everyone has a reason for being in the room – this is a final check to make sure every job is filled.

With the stage set and the cast assembled, it’s showtime, baby! πŸŽ¬πŸ’« Let’s welcome that little bundle of joy into the world with open arms and lots of love. πŸš€πŸ‘Ά

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 6 -Surgery Begins

Once the first incision is made, it’s about 15 minutes until you meet your baby! It really is that soon.

During a C-section, the surgical team performs a meticulous dance through seven distinct layers of tissue, each one playing a vital role in bringing your little one into the world:

What Are The Anatomy Layers Of A C-section?

  1. Skin: The outermost layer, where the adventure begins. This is the first canvas the surgical team encounters.
  2. Subcutaneous Fat: This is just the fat under your skin – it’s one layer your surgeon goes through to get to your baby.
  3. Fascia: A tough, connective tissue layer that provides structural support and keeps everything in its place.There are actually two parts of fascia that are cut and separated so that your abdominal muscles can be moved out of the way.
  4. Muscle: The muscular layer, which is bravely traversed, houses your abdominal muscles, and it’s an essential checkpoint on the path. The good news is that your muscle is not cut during surgery. But, your abdominal walls are pushed to the side to make room for your baby.
  5. Peritoneum: The peritoneum is a thin membrane of cells supported by a thin layer of connective tissue. It serves to support the organs of the abdomen and acts as a conduit for the passage of nerves, blood vessels, and lymphatics.
  6. Uterus: Ah, the star of the show! The uterus is where your little one has been eagerly waiting, and this is where the final act unfolds.
  7. Amniotic Sac: The protective bubble cradling your baby throughout pregnancy. This is the ultimate barrier before your baby makes their debut. Once this is cut, you will hear a suction noise as they capture as much of the amniotic fluid as possible so it doesn’t get slippery. (Think of the fluid when you see water breaking in a movie – this is the fluid they suction up.)

What Will You Feel During The Incision?

With each layer expertly navigated, you may smell a funny smell like something is burning. This is because they are cauterizing small blood vessels on their way so you don’t bleed as much. You should feel only a sense of pressure. Your baby’s grand entrance into the world is just moments away. πŸŒŸπŸ‘ΆπŸŒŸ

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 7 -Your Baby Is Born

The first part of your baby to be born is usually their head (unless they were a breech baby). Once an opening has been made, you may feel a bit of intense pressure. You baby has to be pushed and pulled through delivery.

If you attempted labor before surgery and baby is very low, this may involve pushing them up back out of your pelvis and then through the incision. While you likely will feel an intense pressure feeling – you should not feel pain.

Your anesthesiologist, near your head, monitors your well-being and keeps you informed and comfortable while this is happening. If you’re worried if what you are feeling is normal, ask them!

Once baby’s head is out, your doctor will suction the baby’s nose and mouth for fluids. In a vaginal birth, these are squeezed out by the constriction of labor. In a cesarean birth, the baby needs some extra help getting rid of it all. 

After proper suctioning, the doctor will assist in delivering the rest of the baby’s body by maneuvering them back and forth. You may feel this as tugging or pulling sensations again, but it should not be painful.

The assistant surgeon may press on your upper abdomen to help move the baby down and out as well. Again, you will feel pressure – but not pain.

This should all pass quickly, then your baby will be out and you will hear your baby’s first cry!

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 7 -Your Baby Is Here!

What happens when your baby makes their grand entrance? Well, the excitement begins! πŸ‘Ά

Usually, the surgeon will hold your precious bundle up to the window on your drape so you can catch those very first moments of their life. It’s a magical sight to behold!

If you had specific wishes like delayed cord clamping or saving/donating cord blood, those can often be accommodated. Just ask! If you requested delayed cord clamping, your surgeon will hold your baby for a minute or so before clamping the cord and separating them from the placenta.

Next, your baby will be whisked over to a warmer where a nurse will check their vital signs. Most babies undergo a quick suction to remove more fluid, get a speedy wipe-down, get weighed, and then they’re ready to meet you!

If you’d like, your partner can snap some precious photos of these moments for you to enjoy later.

Once your baby is in your arms, you can enjoy some skin-to-skin time as the surgery wraps up. In fact, some moms even have their first breastfeeding experience right there in the OR!

On. the other hand – not everyone enjoys the sensation of their baby on their chest during surgery.

In that case, your baby can be swaddled and held cheek to cheek with you. Alternatively, your partner can do some skin-to-skin bonding by unzipping their surgical gown, placing baby against their chest, then zipping it part way back up around baby. You’ll have around 30 to 45 minutes of beautiful togetherness before you’re moved out of the OR to a recovery room. πŸŒŸπŸ’•

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 7B -Your Repair

Your surgeon is busy sewing while your baby is being monitored and your enjoying your first moments together as a family. The next steps involve delivering the placenta, suturing the uterus and all the layers previously cut during the surgery.

Your doctor removes then examines your placenta. The next part, closing up all the layers that were cut to reach the baby, is usually the lengthiest phase of the cesarean section, taking around 30 to 60 minutes in total.

After all surgical procedures are complete, your surgeon will close the incision. Typically, the uterus is sutured (sewn) closed with dissolving stitches, while the abdominal incision can be sealed with either staples or stitches, either covered with sterile gauze before you leave the OR. Now, you’re all set to make your way to the recovery room! 🌟

C-Section Procedure Step By Step: Step 7B -Recovery

You’ll be closely monitored in the post-op area for at least an hour or two. Your nurse will ensure your vital signs remain stable and any bleeding is within normal post-surgery limits. It’s important to note that vaginal bleeding can occur for a few weeks as your uterus heals. Your nurse will regularly check your blood pressure, gently press on your abdomen to ensure your uterus is contracting as it should and to help prevent hemorrhage, and may provide assistance with nursing if needed.

During this time, you’ll gradually reintroduce eating and drinking, starting with ice chips. It’s quite common to experience some nausea, dizziness, and lightheadedness after surgery, but these sensations will subside with time. When it comes to eating for c-section recovery, the name of the game is to go slow.

Initially, it may take an hour or two before you regain the ability to move your legs. You might also have warm blankets and a leg-squeezing machine to promote circulation until you can move more freely. 🌟πŸ’ͺπŸ₯

After an hour or two in the post – op recovery room – you get to move to your postpartum room. Here, you stay an additional 3-5 days to be monitored and supported in your recovery.

What to Expect During a C-Section: A Detailed Step-by-Step Overview Conclusion

Mama, embarking on the journey of a C-section brings its unique set of experiences and emotions. From the initial preparations to the grand moment of meeting your little one for the first time, it’s a remarkable process filled with medical expertise, care, and love.

While every C-section may have its variations, this detailed step-by-step overview serves as a guide to help you navigate this remarkable chapter in your life. Remember, you’re in capable hands every step of the way, and the joy of holding your precious bundle at the end makes it all worth it. πŸŒŸπŸ‘ΆπŸŒŸ

Make A Full Recovery Post C-Section

If you are planning for a c-section or just had a c-section, you probably have a lot of questions. Before you go, check out our other guides on giving birth by surgery and healing from your surgical birth.

What To Do The Night Before A C-Section

Your First Shower After A C-Section

What To Eat After A C-Section For A Quick Recovery

C-Section Recovery: The A-Z Guide

The Ultimate C-Section Recovery Kit

Breastfeeding After A C-Section

When Can I Bend Again After A C-Section?

C-Section Scar Itching

C-Section Pooch