Legacy Women's Health

Cesarean Section

What every pregnant woman should know about the cesarean section

In the United States, approximately one in three births is a cesarean section. Some C-sections are performed because of unforeseen circumstances during labor and others are scheduled in advance. If our San Antonio OBGYNs do recommend a cesarean section, you can rest assured that they feel it is necessary for the safety of the mother and the baby. Our c-section rate consistently falls well below national averages with rates closer to 20% and around 8-12% for primary (or first time) cesareans.

There are many reasons for a scheduled, non-scheduled or emergency cesarean section

In some circumstances, our San Antonio OBGYNs may recommend a scheduled cesarean section. When this occurs, you know about the procedure in advance and have time to prepare yourself and your partner.

  • The baby is in a breech, or feet-first, position.
  • The baby is in a transverse position (shoulder first or side first).
  • You are pregnant with multiples, but we do support vaginal delivery of twins under the right circumstances.
  • You have placenta previa or problems with the umbilical cord.
  • There is an obstruction, such as a large fibroid.
  • Your previous cesarean section prevents a safe vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC.
  • You have a medical condition, such as HIV or active herpes.

In other cases, emergencies occur during labor that necessitate a cesarean section.

  • Labor is not progressing.
  • The baby develops problems, such as an abnormal heart rate or oxygen level.
  • Dangerous issues arise involving the placenta or umbilical cord.
  • A VBAC trial of labor doesn’t progress.
  • The mother develops extremely high blood pressure or another medical problem that precludes longer labor.
  • The baby has changed position, making vaginal birth difficult.
  • The baby is too large for the mother to safely give birth.

What happens during the procedure?

Prior to the cesarean section, the surgical team preps your abdomen. The anesthesiologist administers an epidural or spinal block. More rarely, we would use general anesthesia. Our San Antonio OBGYNs make a horizontal abdominal incision and another incision in the uterus, allowing the doctor to deliver your baby. In some rare cases, a different type of incision may be required for C-sections.

What you can expect after delivery

After your cesarean section, you can hold your baby if you like while our San Antonio OBGYNs deliver the placenta and close your incisions. Nurses monitor your vital signs, your abdomen and your bleeding while you are in your hospital room or a recovery room. They can provide you with pain relief as well.

Usually a few hours after your cesarean section, we help you get up and move to help prevent blood clots and constipation. You’re welcome to breastfeed your baby when you’re ready. A nurse or lactation consultant can help you find the most comfortable position for breastfeeding.

You should arrange to have some help at home, especially for the first two weeks after birth. Full recovery will take from four to six weeks.

To learn more about C-sections, contact us today.