If you are pregnant, chances are good that you will be able to deliver your baby through the birth canal (vaginal birth). But there are cases when a Cesarean Section (C-section) is needed for the safety of the mother or baby. So even if you plan on a vaginal birth, it’s a good idea to learn about C-section, in case the unexpected happens.
What is a Cesarean Birth (C-section)?
A cesarean birth (C-section) is an abdominal operation performed to deliver a baby when a vaginal delivery is not possible or safe. Your doctor performs a cesarean birth by making an incision in the abdomen and uterus to remove the baby.
For Scheduled and Emergency Cesarean Sections (C-sections)
If you are scheduled for a C-section, or if you should unexpectedly need one due to a pregnancy complication, Natividad Medical Center’s L&D staff are committed to providing you with a safe and healthy delivery.
Please note: We do our best to honor the times assigned; however, many events in obstetrics cannot be planned. Your baby will be delivered as soon as possible and your nurse will keep you informed.
NMC’s Labor & Delivery department has two fully-equipped operating rooms and a neonatal team is present at all C-sections. Your labor coach or significant other is allowed to be with you during your C-section.
In the unlikely event that your child requires specialized care after birth, he or she will be taken immediately to the NICU and attended by the neonatal intensive care team.
When do I go to the Hospital?
For a scheduled C-section, you should arrive 3 hours prior to your scheduled surgery time.
Sometimes the baby does not wait for the scheduled date, so please come to the hospital immediately if you experience any of the following:
- If your water breaks (a gush or a trickle of fluid)
- If you are having contractions regularly
- If your baby is not moving or is moving less than usual
- If you are having bright red bleeding from your vagina
At the hospital, you will be checked to see if you are in labor. You will be sent home if you are not in labor and will return on your scheduled date. If you are in labor, you may have your C-section prior to the scheduled date.
Our nurses and physicians are happy to answer any questions at any time during your care.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your hospital stay, please talk to your health care provider or call the Labor & Delivery Department at 831.755.6226.
Preparing for a Cesarean Section
- Do not have anything to eat or drink (including water) 8 hours prior to your surgery.
- Take only acetaminophen (Tylenol) if needed for pain.
- Do not wear jewelry, bring money, or valuables to the hospital.
- Do not wear any makeup, lotions or powders the day of your surgery.
- The day you arrive at the hospital, you may bring one adult visitor with you.
- Report to Labor and Delivery with your paperwork at the date and time indicated on the cover of this brochure.
- If you should experience vaginal bleeding, leakage of fluid from your vagina, regular contractions, or your baby is not moving, come to Labor and Delivery immediately, regardless of your scheduled date and time.
What happens during a Cesarean Delivery?
- An IV will be started and blood will be taken.
- Nurses will monitor your baby to make sure everything is OK.
- You will be given medication in your IV and will drink some medication before going to surgery.
- The staff will talk to you about what type of medicine you will get during your surgery.
- You will have a catheter (a plastic tube placed into your bladder to keep it empty of urine). This will be removed 12-24 hours after your surgery.
- You can decide on one family member to be with you in the operating room.
- There will be doctors and nurses in the operating room to take care of you and your baby.
- You will be in the operating room about one hour and then moved to a room to recover for about one hour. You will be able to breast feed in the recovery room. You will move to your new room in the Mother Infant Unit once you are OK.
- You will stay in the hospital 2-4 days depending on your recovery.