What is a c-section?
A caesarean section, or C-section, is an operation to deliver your baby through a incision made in your abdomen and uterus. The incision is usually made across your lower abdomen, just below your bikini line.
A c-section is a major operation that carries a number of risks, so it's usually only done if it's the safest option for you and your baby.
Why c-sections are carried out
A caesarean may be carried out because:
- your baby is in the breech position (feet first)
- you have a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia)
- you have pregnancy-related high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia)
- you have certain infections, such as a first genital herpes infection occurring late in pregnancy or untreated HIV
- your baby isn't getting enough oxygen and nutrients – sometimes this may mean the baby needs to be delivered immediately
- your labour isn't progressing or there's excessive vaginal bleeding
Asking for a c-section
You can request a c-section but the decision as to whether or not a c-section is carried out is made by a consultant. You can pay privately for a c-section but you'll need the agreement of your private consultant.
Jersey private patients
C-sections on the NHS website
Recovering from a c-section can take longer than recovering from a vaginal delivery. You might need to stay in hospital for up to three days, compared with one or two days for a vaginal birth.
You may experience some discomfort in your abdomen for the first few days, and you'll be offered painkillers to help with this.
When you go home, you'll need to take things easy at first. You may need to avoid some activities such as driving for six weeks or so.
Recovering from a c-section on the NHS website