Planned caesarean section

Before a planned ceasarean section there are important preparations you need to be aware of.

About the operation

Your caesarean section is scheduled on __ /__- 20__ at __:__ at Pregnancy and Maternity, unit 1 (Graviditet og Barsel, sengeafsnit 1).

Your preliminary examination is scheduled on __ /__- 20__ at __:__ at Pregnancy and Maternity, unit 1 (Graviditet og Barsel, sengeafsnit 1).

You should expect to be at the hospital for two days after you have given birth.

If your water breaks or you begin experiencing contractions before your planned caesarean section, contact Pregnancy and Maternity, unit 1 (Graviditet og Barsel, sengeafsnit 1) on (+45) 38 68 32 57.

Preliminary examination

You have to attend a preliminary exam before the operation. You are very welcome to bring along your partner or one other adult companion. We will show you around, tell you about the hospital admission and fasting rules and take measurements for compression stockings. We will also inform you about the exact time to meet on the day of the caesarean section. The time of the caesarean section may be changed if we have to attend acute situations with other giving birth. You will also discuss anaesthesia with a physician and blood samples may be taken.

The preliminary exam will take 2-4 hours.

Important preparation

Take a shower or bath at home

On the day before the operation, take a bath or shower and wash your hair. Put on clean clothes before heading to the hospital. Do not apply any creams, deodorant or perfume after the shower or bath as this increases the risk of infection.

Take off make up, nail polish and jewelry

During the operation, a device will be placed on one of your fingers to measure the oxygen levels in your blood. You will therefore need to remove nail polish or acrylic nails prior to your operation. Before leaving your home, take off your make up, watch and jewelry, including any piercings.

Fasting

You must fast before the operation. This means that:

  • You must stop eating six hours before your operation. This includes chewing gum, hard candy and lozenges.
  • You must stop drinking dairy products and juice with pulp six hours before the operation. Do not use milk in your coffee or tea.
  • You must stop drinking cold or hot liquids two hours before the operation. We recommend having a large glass of cordial as the last thing you drink. The sugar in the cordial helps counteract nausea and malaise.

If you have diabetes, certain precautions apply. We will discuss this with you at your appointments during the pregnancy and at the preliminary examination.

Take any medicine with a small glass of water

If you are taking regular medicine, you can take it with a small glass of water, even though you are fasting, unless we have told you otherwise. Take the medicine as we have discussed with you.

Don’t use contact lenses

If you wear contact lenses, remove them before the operation. You are welcome to wear glasses.

Bring toiletries and comfortable clothes

Remember to bring a toothbrush and other toiletries, slippers, comfortable clothes and a robe, if you want. Bring duvet and clothes for your newborn.
We also recommend that you bring some chewing gum, as this helps your stomach work normally in the time after the operation.

At the hospital

Bring one adult companion

You are welcome to bring along your partner or one other adult companion.

You will be given patient clothing to wear

We will provide you and your companion with clothing to wear during the operation.

You will be scanned if necessary

If you are having a caesarean section because the baby is in breech position, we will scan you first. If the scan shows that the baby has turned and is now in a head-down position, we will cancel the caesarean section. In most cases you can then go home and wait for the birth to begin naturally.

Remove hair

You need to remove any hair from the navel down to the pubic bone. You must remove the hair with a special cream that you can buy at the pharmacy. Do not use a razor as it can leave small tears on the skin that can increase the risk of infection.

A drip will be inserted

There will be many people around you in the operating theatre. A drip for fluids will be placed in your hand. We will measure your blood pressure, pulse and the oxygen content in your blood, and place electrodes on your chest, so we can monitor your heart rhythm during the operation.

You will be sedated and have a urine catheter inserted

An anaesthetic will be injected into your lower back, a so-called epidural. The injection is given while you are bent forward while sitting up or while you are lying on your side. You will first be given a small local anaesthetic, and then the physician will inject an anaesthetic into your spinal canal. A short time after, you will be numb from your waist down. You will be awake and be able to feel pressure and tugging but no pain.
A urinary catheter will then be inserted to collect your urine in a bag and keep your bladder empty during the operation. A urinary catheter is a thin tube that is inserted into your bladder via the urethra.

The operation

A screen will be placed across your body so you cannot see what is going on during the operation. A cut about 15cm long will be made across your abdomen, just above your pubic hair. If you have previously had a caesarean section, we will usually place the incision in the old scar.
To remove the baby, we will push on the top of your stomach. This may feel uncomfortable, but it will be over quickly. It will only take a few minutes for the child to be born. If you want, we can lower the screen so you can watch the child being born.
Once the placenta has been removed, we will close the incision with dissolvable stitches that will disappear within three weeks. The incision will then be bandaged and dressed. After the operation, we will put compression stockings on you.
If you have a BMI greater than 35, we will put on a bandage with negative pressure which you must remove yourself after you have returned home. We will give you instructions on how to remove it before you go home.

The operation will take approximately 45 minutes.

Skin-to-skin contact

If you and your child are doing well, the child will be placed on your chest immediately after birth for skin-to-skin contact and so it can seek out your breast. In some cases, the child will need to be checked and perhaps receive help breathing before it is handed to you.
The child can also be placed for skin-to-skin contact with your partner or companion.
Skin-to-skin contact is important for breastfeeding as the contact stimulates the hormones that start milk production. The contact also helps the baby maintain a stable body temperature, increase blood sugar levels and stabilise heartbeat and breathing.

Checking the baby

After the birth, we will check your child, and measure and weigh it. We recommend that the child receives a vitamin K injection, which prevents bleeding.

Observation of you

We will keep a particular eye on you for the first few hours. This will take place in a recovery room. We will keep an eye on any bleeding from your uterus, your blood pressure, your heartbeat and the oxygen levels in your blood. We will also help the baby latch on for the first time and make sure your baby is doing well. You will later be moved to a regular maternity room.

The urinary catheter and drip are removed

We will remove the catheter and drip as soon as possible so you can move about and participate in caring for your child.

You will receive pain-relieving medicine

You will feel pain after a caesarean section. In order to ease your pain, we will give you a combination of two types of pain-relieving medicine four times a day. You will also need morphine the first 24 hours, which we will give to you as needed. We regularly ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10.
You can breastfeed while taking pain-relieving medicine.

You are welcome to get visits

The first time after birth can be vulnerable for many parents, and you may need peace and relaxation. However, you are welcome to get visits at the hospital, as long as you show consideration to the other parents that may be around. We recommend that visits take place between 16.30-18.00.

Risks of a caesarean section

There is a risk of discomfort and complications during and after all operations. If there are factors that make you particularly at risk we will discuss them with you. Many complications can be prevented while you are at the hospital if you get out of bed as quickly as possible and keep active.

Risks:

  • Itching: The epidural may cause your skin to itch. This rarely requires any form of treatment. The itching will go away within 24 hours, and usually within a few hours.
  • Low blood pressure: The anaesthesia can cause your blood pressure to drop. Low blood pressure is treated with medication.
  • Infection: Infections can occur in your bladder, uterus or in the incision itself (2%), which will require reopening the wound with another operation. 
  • Damage to the uterus, bladder or intestine: In rare cases, the uterus, bladder or intestine may be damaged during the operation (less than 0.1%).
  • Bleeding: In rare cases, bleeding can occur in the stomach area, which will require a new operation.
  • Blood clots in the legs: There is a slightly increased risk of developing blood clots in your legs, which can travel to your lungs and, in rare cases, become life threatening.
  • Scar tissue: After a caesarean section, scar tissue may form in your stomach, which can complicate future operations in the stomach. The scar tissue can cause pain for up to a year after the birth.

Risks for the child:

  • Breathing difficulties: Children born via a planned caesarean section more than one week prior to term have an increased risk of developing breathing difficulties that may require hospital admission. We therefore strive to schedule your caesarean section within one week of your due date.

In connection with a new pregnancy, you will be offered a consultation with an obstetrician to go over your previous delivery experience(s) and discuss the pros and cons of vaginal birth or a caesarean section.

Going home

You will receive more information

We will provide you with information on what to be aware of just after a caesarean section and once you get back home. You will be informed of the practical precautions you should take, and what you should do with regard to hygiene or pain, for example.

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