If your baby is born by a cesarean delivery, chances are good that you can be awake for the surgery. Only in rare situations will a mother require general anesthesia for delivery. This means she is not conscious for the birth. Most cesarean deliveries today are done with a regional anesthesia such as an epidural or spinal. With this type of anesthesia, only part of the body is numbed for surgery. The mother is awake and able to hear and see her baby as soon as he or she is born.
Babies born by cesarean are usually checked by a nursery nurse or pediatrician right after delivery. This is often done right near you in the operating room. Because babies born by cesarean may have difficulty clearing some of the lung fluid and mucus, extra suctioning of the nose, mouth, and throat are often needed. Occasionally, deeper suctioning in the windpipe is required.
Once a baby is checked over, a nurse will wrap the baby warmly and bring the baby to you to see and touch. In some cases, babies born by cesarean will first need to be watched in the nursery for a short time. All of the usual procedures such as weighing and medications are performed there. Usually, your baby can be brought to you while you are in the recovery area after surgery.
Many mothers think that they will not be able to breastfeed after a cesarean delivery. This is not true. Breastfeeding can begin in the first hours right in the recovery room, just as with a vaginal delivery.
Plan to have someone stay with you during your hospital stay after a cesarean delivery. You will have quite a bit of pain in the first few days and will need help with the baby.
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