Cesarean Section

For a long time the most common method of birth was having a vaginal birth, but sometimes it isn’t possible for babies to be born through the mother’s vagina. In such cases, a cesarean delivery may be performed. Cesarean birth is the birth of a baby through surgical incisions (cuts) made in the abdomen and uterus.

Some of the most common reasons for a Cesarean birth are:

When a specific date of birth is needed If complications arise For multiple births Failure of labor to progress Concern for the baby A large baby Breech presentation Maternal infections (such as human immunodeficiency virus or herpes)

The doctor will make an incision through your skin and the wall of the abdomen. The skin incision may be horizontal or vertical, just above the pubic hairline. The muscles in your abdomen are moved and, in most cases, do not need to be cut. Another incision will be made in the wall of the uterus. The incision in the wall of the uterus also will be either transverse or vertical.

The baby will be delivered through the incisions, the umbilical cord will be cut, and then the placenta will be removed. The uterus will be closed with stitches that will dissolve in the body. Stitches or staples are used to close your skin.

Like any major surgery, cesarean birth involves risks. A hospital stay after a cesarean birth is usually 2–4 days. The length of your stay depends on the reason for the cesarean birth and on how long it takes for your body to recover. When you go home, you may need to take special care of yourself and limit your activities. Talk to your gynecologist about any questions you have and they can help you decide what works best for you.

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