How is a cesarean delivery (C-section) performed?

Updated: Dec 14, 2018
  • Author: Hedwige Saint Louis, MD, MPH, FACOG; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

As with any procedure, take care to avoid injury to adjacent organs. Potential complications include bladder or bowel injury. If a cystotomy or bowel injury is suspected, it should be evaluated thoroughly after the baby is delivered and hemostasis of the uterus is achieved.

The anesthesiologist monitors the patient’s vital signs and tracks fluid intake and urine output. The average blood loss associated with a cesarean delivery is approximately 1000 mL. [78] A patient at term will have up to a 50% expansion in their blood volume and can lose up to 1500 mL without showing any change in vital signs. If a significant blood loss is encountered or anticipated, assess the hemoglobin level and cross-match blood.

Most of the physiologic changes occurring during a cesarean delivery are secondary to the physiologic adaptations to pregnancy, the medical or obstetrical complication affecting the mother, or secondary to obstetrical complications directly related to the pregnancy (eg, preeclampsia). The method of anesthesia used to perform the procedure also influences the physiologic adaptations that the mother undergoes during the procedure.

Before beginning the operation, inform the nursery so that a member of the nursery staff can be present to evaluate the baby after delivery and resuscitate as necessary.


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