Healthcare Tips

Pregnant? Here’s What You Need to Know About C-sections.

January 21, 2022

When you’re pregnant, it’s impossible not to think about the day you’ll give birth. That’s for good reason: While childbirth is one of life’s most joyful experiences, it’s also tough on you—physically and emotionally.

It can get even more complicated if you find out you’re likely to have a cesarean delivery. While C-sections are considered safe, the realization that you won’t be having your baby vaginally—the way you probably thought you would—can be nerve-racking.

But it might help to know that C-sections are common—about 30% of the babies born in America are delivered by C-section—and there’s a variety of reasons that having a cesarean section might be better for you and your new baby.

C-sections are sometimes planned beforehand, but frequently the decision about the procedure occurs during labor when a woman’s cervix isn’t opening enough for a vaginal birth, even with the help of contractions.

Other reasons doctors recommend C-sections include:

Sometimes, a woman requests a C-section because she prefers not to have a vaginal birth or wants the convenience of knowing when she’ll deliver. A small number of the births in the United States—about 2.5%— are the result of a cesarean by the request of the mother.

What happens during and after a C-section?

If you’re nervous about the possibility of a cesarean delivery, learning the basics of the procedure might help calm your nerves. 

A C-section is a surgical procedure that delivers your baby through incisions in your abdomen and uterus. Because expectant mothers usually want to participate in their baby’s birth, most C-sections are done under regional anesthesia, which won’t put you to sleep but will numb you below the waist. A screen or drape will be placed around your abdomen, so you won’t see the surgical incisions being made. But once your baby is born, you’ll most likely be able to immediately see, hear, and touch him or her.

Following your C-section, expect to stay in the hospital for several days. Your care team will probably encourage you to get up and walk, and even shower, as soon as possible because physical activity is likely to speed your recovery. It’s common for it to take about six weeks for a full recovery, but patients are often able to care for their new baby and return to regular activities well before then.

Something else you might want to know is Hancock Regional Hospital has a partnership with Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. The partnership provides an advanced level of newborn care at the hospital and allows Hancock Regional to offer a higher level of care for at-risk infants, including babies born as early as 32 weeks’ gestation. Most babies born at Hancock Regional won’t need that level of care, but it’s good to know it’s available onsite if it’s required. If you have more questions about C-section deliveries, you can visit our surgical website, where our surgeons, including our obstetricians, answer common questions about all the surgeries we perform at Hancock Regional. It’s another way we’re making health possible across East Central Indiana and beyond.