Caesarean sections are carried out in hospital. You may be asked to come in for an appointment a few days beforehand, and you might need to stay in hospital for a few days afterwards.
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If there's time to plan your caesarean, you'll be given an approximate date for it to be carried out.
You'll also be asked to attend an appointmentat thehospitalin the week before the procedure is due to be performed.
During this appointment:
You'll need to stop eating and drinking a few hours before the procedure your doctor or midwife will tell you when.
You'll be asked to change into a hospital gown when you arriveat thehospitalon the day ofthe procedure.
A thin, flexible tube called a catheter will be inserted into your bladder to empty it while you're under the anaesthetic, andasmall area of pubic hair will betrimmed if necessary.
You'll be given the anaesthetic in the operating room. This will usually be a spinal or epidural anaesthetic , which numbs the lower part of your body while you remain awake.
This means you'll beawake during the delivery and can see and hold your baby straight away.
It also means your birth partner can be with you.
General anaesthetic where you're asleepis used in some cases if you can't have a spinal or epidural anaesthetic.
During the procedure:
The whole procedureusually takesaround 40-50 minutes.
You'll usually be moved from the operating room to a recovery room straight after the procedure.
Once you've started to recover from the anaesthetic, the medical staff will make sure you're well andcontinue to observe you every few hours.
You'll be offered:
The catheter will usually be removed from your bladder around 12-18 hours after the procedure, once you're able towalk around.
EpiduralAn epidural is an anaesthetic injection given into the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord, especially during labour, to numb the lower half of the body. Local anaestheticA local anaesthetic is a drug that is injected by needle or applied as a cream. It causes a loss of feeling in a specific area of the body.SpineThe spine supports the skeleton and surrounds and protects the delicate spinal cord and nerves. It is made up of 33 bones called the vertebrae.
Read about why caesarean sections are carried out, whether you can ask for one, what they involve, and what the risks are.
Find out what happens during a caesarean section, how you prepare, and what happens immediately afterwards.
Find out about after a caesarean section, including what you can expect and how long you need to avoid activities such as driving.