Cesarean section can be planned for an emergency. You may be wondering what to expect. This article is to help you get a quick overview of what you should expect

Before the surgery, you will have done some laboratory investigations requested by your doctor to make sure you are fit. The anesthetist will also examine you to make sure you are fit for the procedure. You will do a full blood count and also grouping and cross matching. Depending on your condition other investigations will be requested.

Your midwife should help you understand the procedure

Some drugs will be requested and they have to be made ready before the surgery. It includes antibiotics, iv fluids and some analgesics for pain relief.
In some cases you will be expected to donate some blood before the procedure so it can be used for you in case the need arises. Below are some of the procedures you will go through.
1. Shaving, catheter, canulla insertion. You will be shaved to the level of your navel down to upper border of your pubic bone. The catheter will empty any urine in the bladder to prevent injury to the bladder during the surgical operation. An iv line will be secured for your blood samples and for iv infusions
2. You will fast for about 6 hours before the surgery if it’s not an emergency. You may be allowed to take your medications with little water if you have have conditions like Preeclampsia etc
3. Consent form. This is a legal document you sign to show you agree to the procedure and that you are aware of the risks and benefits of the surgery. Without your consent or signing this document, no doctor will perform the procedure. Make sure you really understand before signing the document
4. Anaesthesia. This is given to you before the procedure commences. It is generally local spinal anesthesia. A general anesthesia is sometimes given depending on your situation. This makes you not feel the pain during the procedure. The anesthetist also makes sure you are fit throughout the procedure

5. Procedure will be done and the baby will be shown to you. The doctor will Carry out the procedure to deliver your baby. A midwife receives the baby and cleans her. She will show the baby to you so you identify the sex. Depending on the hospital they will initiate breastfeeding if baby and mum are fit
6. Pain relief. After the procedure you will continue with analgesics which will be given every 6 hours to relieve you of your pain. They don’t have to wait for your pain to commence before giving you pain medications. Always tell your doctor if you experience any form of pain
7. Lying on your back. After the procedure you will be made to lie on your back for some time. Do well to cooperate to prevent headaches and side effects that come as a result of the anesthesia. Move when you are asked to do so
8. Nil per os. After the procedure you may want to eat something before due to hunger. Wait until your doctor has confirmed that bowel sounds have returned and you can eat. When you bowel sounds return one indication is that you will pass flatulence or stool. The doctor can also confirm through clinical findings. You will start with some tea leaf, then light diet then later your normal diet
9. You will be encouraged to move around after the procedure. Within the first 24 hours you will be encouraged to walk about. This will help in the healing process.
10. Wound care and self care. Report if you are bleeding, having severe pain from the wound site or there is abnormal discharge. Go for wound dressing, take your prescribed medications and have passive exercise to promote healing.

11. Breastfeeding your baby. Breastfeeding is not easy. As you deal with the pain from your wound site you will have to deal with breastfeeding your little one. Get help when you need it. If your pain is well managed breastfeeding may be easier
12. Taking your medication. As I mentioned take your medications as it will help in the healing process
13 Discharge from the hospital. All things being equal, when you are fit you will be discharged from the hospital. When you can walk around, your wound has started healing nicely mostly on the third day, your baby is fit and breastfeeding.
14. Go for follow up visits. Report if there is fever, wound infection or you feel sick.

After the operation you can find the details of the procedure from the doctor who did it. You can also request a (BTL) bilateral tubal ligation if you are not wishing to have babies any more. You need to sign a document for this as well. If you want pictures of the procedure kindly do ask whether the hospital has a protocol for this.

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