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C-Section Information

Is a C-section Right for You?

At HCGH, we want moms to know why Cesarean sections are performed, be aware of the risks associated with them and learn about important things to do to prevent a C-section. We encourage moms to have a conversation with their obstetrician to determine the right choice.

C-sections should be performed when medically necessary and appropriate for either maternal or fetal reasons – for example, if the baby’s heart rate suggests the baby is in distress or the baby is in a position that isn’t easily delivered, a C-section is indicated. If the mom has an underlying medical condition or has had a past C-section, she may not be able to have a vaginal delivery. Labor takes time and when it does, it doesn’t always mean there is something wrong or that a C-section is indicated. If a C-section does need to be performed, many measures will be taken to keep mom safe.

C-sections increase the risk for placenta previa, high blood pressure and bleeding or even hemorrhage. Vaginal deliveries may also offer certain benefits for moms and babies.

If you’ve had one C-section in the past, vaginal birth after C-section can be safe and effective.

C-sections can be prevented by keeping mom’s weight down and controlling diabetes during pregnancy.

For Scheduled and Emergency C-sections

If you are scheduled for a C-section, or if you should unexpectedly need one due to a pregnancy complication, the Birthing Center staff is committed to providing you with a safe and healthy delivery.
If your C-section is scheduled, you may be asked to come to the hospital the day prior to your delivery for laboratory blood work and to check in with one of our Labor and Delivery nurses for pre-op assessment and instructions. If you do not come in the day before surgery you will receive a phone call from a Labor & Delivery staff member to verify the date and time of arrival. To help prevent infection, you will be given a scrub kit to use in the shower both the day before and the morning of your C-section. When you arrive the day of surgery, you will be admitted to a pre-operative waiting area where your family member will be allowed to wait with you.

PLEASE NOTE: We do our best to honor the times assigned; however, many events in obstetrics cannot be planned. Your baby will be delivered as soon as possible and your nurse will keep you informed.
The Birthing Center has two state-of-the-art, fully equipped operating rooms and a pediatrician is present at all C-sections.  Your labor coach or significant other is allowed to be with you at all times.
In the unlikely event that your child requires specialized care after birth, he or she will be taken immediately to the NICU and attended by our Johns Hopkins pediatric intensive care team.
Women who have undergone a C-section recover in the hospital up to 96 hours. We allow early discharge if you have excellent support in your home.

Read about C-section anesthesia

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