What happens in surgery?

  • Monitoring equipment will be put on you to check your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • You will receive an injection in your spine.  You may have to lie down for this or sit on the edge of the bed. (If you suffer from nausea when you have an anaesthetic then they can give  you an anti-emetic to stop you feeling sick)
  • Your stomach and thighs will be cleaned with a sterile solution. 
  • A catheter will be inserted into your bladder to make sure that it is empty.
  • The arm with the cannula will be on an arm board.
  • Once you cannot feel anything then the operation will begin.
  • The doctor will cut into your stomach either horizontally (or the bikini cut) or vertically (generally used if the baby needs to be delivered quickly).
  • The baby is then delivered through these incisions, airways cleared and if everything is ok then there is no reason why they can’t be passed to you for skin to skin and a welcome to the world cuddle. From the first cut to the baby being delivered takes about 10-15 minutes.
  • You will feel some pulling and tugging as they remove the placenta (they will check that it is intact and nothing retained) Having had c-sections it is like someone washing up in your stomach and there should be no pain. There may also be some suction where they remove the amniotic fluid.



There are two types of incision scars.  The most common is the horizontal incision. The vertical incision is used for to expedite the delivery of preterm babies but it does mean that the mother cannot have a vaginal delivery in the future.

It may seem like there is a lot of people there but they are all there to make sure that you and the baby are ok. There will be the anaesthetist, doctors (at least two with one performing the operation and the other assisting), nurses to assist the doctor and care for you.  There will also be a group of professionals to take care of your baby.

Delayed cord clamping

This is not normally done at c-sections but its worth asking if they could delay clamping the cord for just a minute or two.  Delayed cord clamping increases a newborn babies blood supply by 30% and also reduces the risk of iron deficiency anaemia.  It also helps the flow of blood to the lungs which means that the exchange of oxygen in the blood takes place more smoothly.