Preparation for a C-section

If you are having a planned c-section then you will need to go to the hospital on the day that it is scheduled.  As you are having surgery then you will be advised to not eat or drink anything for eight hours before.

When you get to the hospital you will have:-

  • Blood tests.
  • Blood pressure, temperature and pulse rate will be checked.
  • Babys heartbeat will be checked with a foetal heart machine. 
  • A cannula will be inserted and you may be hooked up to an IV drip (ask for it not to be in your dominant hand so you can carry on using that)
  • Support stockings will be out on your legs to help prevent blood clots.

When it is time you will be taken to the operating room and your support person will be taken away to be given scrubs and get ready.  It depends on the hospital as to where you’re given the anaesthetic – if its an epidural then as this can be topped up chances are you’re already hooked up.  As a spinal only works for a certain length of time you will be given that in the theatre.  You will be sat on the edge of the surgical table and asked to curve your spine as much as you can (not easy with a pregnant belly in front of you!) then numbing gel will be applied and the block administered.  Chances are you may feel a bit strange, you could feel cold, nauseous, dizzy and its all normal.  If you feel sick (or think there’s a chance that you will) ask for an antiemetic as this will make you feel better.  You will then be laid down (if you feel anything from your chest down SPEAK) and a screen put up and its at this point your birth partner will be brought in.  The operation will commence and after about ten minutes your baby will be born.

 Types of anaesthesia


You receive a small local anaesthetic and a hollow needle and flexible catheter are inserted into your spine.  The needle is removed and the catheter kept in place. Anaesthetic medicine is injected through the catheter and it can be topped up as needed.


Spinal block

You will go numb very quickly from this injection into your fluid around the spinal cord but this cannot  be topped up.

General Anaesthetic

This is given if you request it; if the spinal anaesthetics haven’t worked or if there is a danger to life.

Potential Issues with Anaesthesia and other medication issues

  • You can sometimes have a period of breathlessness.  You are breathing its just that the medication for the anaesthesia has interrupted that signal from being sent to your brain so you can’t feel that you are.
    • Say you can’t breathe.  The anaesthetist will check and confirm. 
    • Partners role You are now need to be a coach and get your partner to focus on breathing out.  In order to do a good exhale they have to do a good inhale so break it down to an exhale and stay calm.  Hold their hand in front of their face so they can feel the breath.  Once again – your job is to STAY CALM.
  • If you are having real difficulties breathing then blink many times. The anaesthetist should be monitoring you and notice any difficulties on the equipment but this should alert people seconds before the equipment does.
    • Partners role watch your wife and if she rapidly blinks then you can alert the anaesthetist.  Again STAY CALM and reassuring and do the breathing exercises above.
  • If you start to feel anything in surgery SPEAK.  Do not think you are imagining it – use your voice and tell them that you have pain or discomfort.
    • Partners role – this will be scary to watch but STAY CALM and ask the doctor to check the anaesthetic.  It may just need a top up or she could have to have a general anaesthetic which will mean that you have to leave the room. 
  • You may feel sick or shaky during the operation.  This can vary between nausea to vomiting to shaking to teeth chattering.  You can be given medication to help with these symptoms but it can make you sleepy so if you do not want that then say so.