Written by Pradeep
Childbirth can be extremely unpredictable. When you are pregnant, all you yearn for is a normal delivery and a healthy baby during labor, even if that means going through a lot of pain and discomfort. Even if you would have planned for a vaginal birth, normal delivery cannot always be the outcome. This article deals with everything about reasons, risks, and recovery from emergency C-sections.
There can be circumstances that can make an emergency C-section inevitable. More often it keeps the mother and baby safe from any further complications. When you are nearing your due date, it is better that you understand what an emergency C-section involves so that you are well prepared if you end up in this situation.
In This Article
Cesarean delivery is done by making incisions in the abdomen and uterus of the pregnant woman and delivering the baby quickly. If labor has already started and due to some complications it is not progressing as desired, then there can be a need for an emergency C-section.
Often C-sections are planned and scheduled well in advance in cases where the mother or the baby has a medical condition that makes vaginal delivery difficult. Planned C-section is never an emergency irrespective of what the medical condition is. But sometimes, for women who have opted for vaginal delivery, the cesarean section becomes a lifesaving procedure during emergencies.
Emergency C-section differs from planned or scheduled C-section in the following way:
For scheduled C-sections, there will be enough time for preparation. On the other hand, for an emergency cesarian procedure, the decision and the surgery procedure will not be more than 30 minutes. Depending on the emergency, the time window can even be shorter.
During an emergency C-section, more often, general anesthesia will be given and the mother will be put to sleep throughout the procedure. This is because, in a case of an emergency, there will not be enough time or condition to place an epidural or spinal block.
If an epidural is already given to the mother, there will not be enough time to give an additional dose of the medicine to make her comfortable through the surgery. Whereas, in the case of scheduled cesarian, an epidural is given so that the mother will be awake throughout the procedure.
The recovery time is different in both cases. In the case of an emergency C-section, the mother will feel more groggy or nauseous due to the effect of general anesthesia. Also, you will be separated from your baby for a long time in case of an emergency C-section as you will be under general anesthesia. Whereas, in the case of scheduled C-sections this will not be the case.
If you need an emergency C-section, then it means that your doctor has decided that you or your baby are unsafe and immediate delivery through a C-section is the only way out.
Here are some reasons that can lead to an emergency C-section:
When the oxygen supply of your baby is compromised in the womb, it is known as fetal distress. It can lead to decreased fetal heart rate and can be dangerous for your baby. It usually occurs during labor, but can sometimes happen even in the third trimester of pregnancy. Fetal distress is the most common reason for an emergency C-section.
This happens when the pelvis of the mother is small and thus obstructs the baby’s head from smoothly passing through the birth canal. This condition is usually diagnosed at the birth table and makes vaginal delivery difficult and an emergency C-section inevitable.
If you have undergone a C-section in your previous delivery, then you can opt for vaginal birth in your subsequent pregnancy or VBAC. But bear in mind that most of the time a vaginal birth after a C-section can lead to uterine rupture along a previous C-section scar thus leading to an emergency C-section in the delivery room.
If the mother becomes too exhausted to push the baby out or if some other health issues in the mother emerge inside the delivery room, then an emergency C-section is performed.
This is a rare condition, but whenever it occurs, it calls for an emergency cesarian. A cord prolapse happens when even before the baby is born, the umbilical cord slides through the cervix and comes out of the vagina. The pressure of the cord from the fetus will cause the umbilical cord to compress thereby cutting off the oxygen supply to the fetus, which is a life-threatening situation.
Sometimes even if the pregnant woman is having intense labor pains, the cervix might not dilate enough for the baby to pass through the birth canal. This delay in the dilation of the cervix can also be another reason for an emergency cesarian.
Placental abruption is a condition in which the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterine lining even before the delivery. Emergency C-section is the only option to save the baby who can be deprived of oxygen and nutrients and the mother who can experience heavy bleeding.
During the second stage of labor, if the labor slows down or completely stops, an emergency C-section is performed. This can happen due to several reasons like Cephalopelvic disproportion, weak contractions, posterior presentation, etc.
The aim of an emergency C-section is to get the baby out as soon as possible. This is to save the life of the baby or mother or both. Therefore, (as mentioned before) the time window from deciding to go to an emergency C–section and surgical procedure will be very short. If the C-section is an emergency, the time from the incision to delivery will take about two minutes.
Recovering from a cesarian takes a longer time than a vaginal delivery. Recovery time from an emergency cesarian will be longer than that of a scheduled cesarian. If the emergency cesarian is due to fetal distress the recovery period will be as same as a scheduled C-section.
On the other hand, if an emergency cesarian happens due to some maternal complication, the recovery time depends on nature and how intense that complication was. Mostly the mothers will be discharged within 8 days after the surgery. However, lifting weights or doing any difficult tasks or exercises will not be permitted for another 6 to 8 weeks. To help you recover better:
In the first place, an emergency cesarian happens due to some complications during delivery. Therefore, expect several risks during and after an emergency C-section.