Find a Doctor
Browse UPMC doctors and medical professionals to find the care that's right for you. Customize your search by specialty, zip code, last name, and more.
Visit the UPMC Find a Doctor website.
At the suggestion of your physician, it may be necessary for you to have a caesarean section delivery — also called C-section. A C-section is the surgical delivery of a baby. An incision is made in the mother's abdomen and uterus (womb) to deliver the baby. In the United States, 15 to 25 percent, or about one in five, of all births are delivered by cesarean section.
The doctor will make incisions in the abdomen and uterus and deliver the baby through the incisions. There are three different types of incisions:
The uterus will be closed with stitches that later dissolve on their own, and stitches or staples will be used to close the abdomen.
The entire procedure will take approximately 45 to 60 minutes to complete.
The baby is immediately examined by medical personnel. Depending on your condition and the baby's condition, you may be allowed to bond by holding the baby, even while the surgeon is still sewing up the incision.
After the surgery, if you have an epidural in place, your surgeon may give you pain medication through the epidural tube to keep you comfortable. Otherwise, you'll receive pain medications through your IV and/or by mouth.
Depending on your recovery, you will remain in the hospital for two to four days.
You should heal quickly and completely after a c-section. For future deliveries, you may need to speak with your physician about the type of incision used, so that you'll know whether you can attempt a vaginal delivery in the future.
Breastfeeding moms may need some help learning to position and hold the baby in a manner that doesn't put pressure on your abdominal incision. You may also notice some uterine cramping, pain, and an increase in vaginal bleeding at the beginning of each nursing session.
You may require anti-nausea and pain medications.
For several days after surgery, you may need to eat a lighter, blander diet than usual.
You may be given special compression stockings to wear after surgery, to decrease the possibility of blood clots forming in your legs.
You may be asked to use an incentive spirometer, to breathe deeply, and to cough frequently, in order to improve lung function after general anesthesia.
You'll be encouraged to walk very soon after surgery.
You will experience heavy vaginal bleeding, as after any delivery, and will need to use an absorbent sanitary napkin.
Avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby for the first weeks after surgery.
Delay having sexual intercourse until you've had your six-week check-up.
If you have just had a caesarean section, call the doctor immediately if: