As a pregnant woman, you need to be prepared for anything when the time comes to deliver your baby.
Yes, even if you are hoping for a vaginal delivery, there are instances where you might be needed to undergo a Cesarean section instead.
In the United States alone, almost 32% of women give birth via a C-section. This will give you an assurance that there’s nothing to worry about with your baby.
To make the entire surgery much less scary, it’s best that you have an idea of what to expect.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the important things that you need to know about a C-section. You’ll also learn how many layers are cut during C-section.
Hopefully, you’ll gain more understanding about the operation and how you can make the experience less traumatic.
At the same time, your recovery will be quicker once you know what to expect from the operation.
C-Sections: What Is It & Why You Might Need It?
A Cesarean section (C-section) is a major surgery for delivering a baby via incisions in the abdomen and uterus.
The operation is done in cases of a risk to the mother and baby’s health. In emergency cases, it is done as a life-saving measure for both the mother and the baby.
The entire operation lasts between 25 to 60 minutes. Compared to vaginal delivery, the recovery period will take longer though.
If you will be having a C-section, you can expect to stay in the hospital from two to four days after your operation.
Considering this is a major surgery, it is possible for complications to occur.
Some complications that may take place include infection, excessive bleeding, or blood clots.
These side effects, however, are considered minor and usually resolve in just a few weeks.
There are two types of a C-section:
1.) Planned C-Section
In some cases, a C-section is a safer option compared to a vaginal birth.
Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor will bring up the idea of a planned C-section depending on how your situation progresses.
Some instances that your doctor might suggest a planned C-section include the following:
- Problems with the placenta (placenta praevia)
- Baby is in a difficult position for labour (breech)
- Expecting more than 2 babies
- Expecting twins who share a placenta
- Or one baby is in breech position
A planned C-section is also an option for mothers who have HIV or genital herpes. This reduces the risk of your baby contracting the virus.
Usually, a planned C-section is scheduled at 39 weeks of pregnancy; before you go into labor.
Take note that if a C-section is offered to you for medical reasons, you have a choice to take it or not to. There are even some women who opt to have a C-section even if they do not need to.
2.) Emergency C-Section
In some cases, you may need to undergo an emergency C-section if your baby needs to quickly be delivered.
An unplanned C-section usually happens if labor is not progressing or there is a problem with your or your baby’s health.
Although it sounds rushed, you will often be given time to decide whether you want to do a C-section or not.
Your doctor will explain your options to you and why you may need this surgery.
However, if your or your baby’s health is at risk, a C-section is the only option left.
How Many Layers Are Cut During C-Section
You may be wondering how many layers are cut during C-section.
During the operation, your doctor will cut six separate layers of your abdominal wall and uterus. These are individually and carefully opened by your doctor.
Once the baby has been delivered, your doctor will close your uterus with a double stitch layer. The succeeding layers are stitched with one stitch layer.
One layer is not restitched since it heals better without any buckling. It also reduces the occurrence of scar tissue developing.
What else can you expect to happen during your operation?
1.) No Solid Food Eight Hours Prior to Operation
To reduce your chances of vomiting or developing lung complications during your procedure, you will be advised to avoid eating solid food eight hours before your operation.
Instead, you can drink clear liquids, such as juice, sports drinks, or black coffee.
It’s best to ask your doctor for his advice so things will run smoothly.
2.) Don’t Shave
A nurse will be the one to shave your stomach or pubic area with clippers on the day of your C-section.
This is because if you shave it on your own with razors, you might cause a nick on your skin. When this happens, it might cause an infection after delivery.
3.) Shower With a Special Soap
Before you come into the hospital for your C-section, you may be asked to shower or bathe using a special soap.
This soap will help kill bacteria on your skin and reduce your risks of getting an infection after your operation.
What to Expect Before Your Surgery
Once you’ve arrived at the hospital and ready to be prepped for your C-section, the care team will do these three things:
1.) General/Regional Anesthesia
General anesthesia will put you to sleep throughout the operation. Meanwhile, regional anesthesia will only numb some parts of your body so you are conscious during the procedure.
Once the doctor believes you are ready, he will start the surgery.
The C-section will likely take 25 to 40 minutes to finish. If this is your second C-section, it may take longer if scar tissue has formed after your previous surgery.
2.) Foley Catheter
The care team will insert a thin, sterile tube into your bladder so you do not encounter an infection during your operation.
The catheter will also be a helpful guide to let your anesthesiologist know how much urine is being produced by your bladder. This will help monitor if you are having excess blood loss.
If you are having regional anesthesia (either spinal or epidural), the catheter will be placed after so you wouldn’t feel anything.
3.) Sequential Compression Device
To promote sufficient blood flow, the care team may place a sequential compression device on your legs.
This is to make sure that your blood does not pool in your calves and cause a potentially dangerous blood clot.
At times, this device may feel uncomfortable or a little tight. But you should fight the urge to disconnect it.
The device needs to stay on throughout and after surgery until you are able to move around on your own.
Quick Recovery Tips
Although you may feel very tired after your surgery, doctors actually want you to be able to move around on your own the soonest time possible.
In fact, women are encouraged to move out of bed and use the restroom within 12 hours after surgery. This is to make sure your legs will have a healthy blood flow in your veins.
Usually, if you do not develop any fever, infection, or digestive problems after your surgery, you can be allowed to go home within 72 hours.
Always alert your doctor or nurse if you are feeling any pain or unusual feeling.
It could be an indication that something isn’t right and you need to be checked for further health problems.
Here are some things to expect after your surgery:
1.) 24 Hours After Surgery
After your surgery, you will be returned to your room with a pump that will deliver a low dosage of morphine.
You will be in the same room as your newborn baby and will be encouraged to nurse directly so you can develop a strong milk supply.
Some doctors will allow you to eat solid food after your operation. There are others, however, that will wait 24 hours or until you have passed gas before allowing you to eat solids.
You will need to pass gas so that the doctors know your intestines are functioning as usual. You will be wearing pads to control the bleeding.
2.) Day 2
On day 2, the doctors will switch you to an oral painkiller. Your catheter will also be removed so you will be encouraged to walk to the bathroom.
You will need to do your best to walk around the room so you can get your lungs, muscles, and feet functioning normally once again.
Don’t be afraid if you feel a humming motor inside you. This will usually indicate that your intestines are working normally after your bowels have been slowed down by pain medications.
3.) Day 3
You may be allowed to go home on days 3 or 4. If you feel dead tired, you can take it easy and stay at the hospital for another day.
4.) Two Weeks Postpartum
A couple of weeks after your surgery, your doctor will ask you to return to his clinic. He will likely check your incision to make sure that it is healing well.
Learn more from another post: What Do Hospitals Provide For Newborns
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 7 layers of C-section?
How many layers are cut during C-section? The layers that will be cut during a C-section include your skin, fat, rectus sheath (coating outside the abs), rectus, (abs), parietal peritoneum (layer surrounding your organs), loose peritoneum, and the uterus.
How many layers of muscles were cut during a C-section?
Your doctor will cut through five layers of skin, nerves, muscle, and tissue during a C-section.
Traditionally, the cut is vertical. But you can now ask for the cut to be made horizontally so it is easier to hide in a bikini.
How many cuts are there in cesarean delivery?
Basically, your doctor cuts through the abdominal wall and another cut is made in the uterus so that your baby can be delivered.
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.