There are three types of anaesthetic that may be administered prior to c section surgery these are used to reduce feeling and pain during your operation.
It's important that any medical conditions that you may have be reported to your specialist team during your antinatal visits and especially before you go into labour.
Making yourself aware of the different types of Anaesthetic used for Caesarean delivery will help you be prepared during the procedure and also post surgery.
Also if you have any concerns you can talk to your specialists before hand or as well as making it easier to make informed decisions on what procedure you prefer to be performed for your prior to delivery.
Here is a list of the the types of Anaesthetic - Caeaserean Sections and Procedure tips.
TYPES OF ANAESTHETIC SECTIONS
Spinal anaesthetic – the most common anaesthetic for a planned caesarean. A needle will be inserted between the bones in your spine and local anaesthetic will be injected though the needle.
This will block the pain from your chest downwards. You will be awake and able to breathe normally. As your baby is being born, you may feel tugging and pulling sensations, but no pain.
Epidural anaesthetic – often used to lessen the pain of labour. If you have already been given an epidural during labour, and it is working well, the epidural can be topped up for an emergency caesarean.
The epidural is a plastic tube which will be inserted into a space around the lining of your spine. Local anaesthetic will be injected through the tube, which will block any pain sensation from your waist down.
You will be awake and able to breathe normally. As your baby is being born you may feel tugging and pulling sensations, but no pain.
General anaesthetic – only to be given if for some reason you can’t have a spinal or epidural anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic might also be given if your baby needs to be born very quickly.
You will breathe oxygen through a mask and you will be given medicine though a drip, which will make you drowsy and put you to sleep. You will sleep through your baby’s birth.
TYPES OF CAESAREAN SECTIONS
There are two types of cuts that can be used with during a caesarean section. The difference is where the cuts (incisions) are made to the uterus.
A lower segment incision – will be used wherever possible. This is a horizontal (across) cut through the abdomen (stomach) and a horizontal cut through the lower part of the uterus, sometimes known as a ‘bikini line’ incision. These cuts heal better, are less visible and are less likely to cause problems in future pregnancies.
A classical incision – refers to a vertical cut on the uterus. The cut on the abdomen may be horizontal or vertical.
This type of incision is usually only used for extreme emergencies or in specific situations, such as if the placenta is lying very low, if your baby is lying sideways or if your baby is very small. It can increase the chance of having problems in later pregnancies and births.
*After your caesarean, ask the obstetrician what kinds of cuts were made. This will be useful information when you are making decisions about future births.
TO PREPARE FOR YOUR CAESAREAN DELIVERY:
- You will need to fast – no food or drink, including water – for six hours before a planned caesarean. If it is an emergency caesarean, the doctor will ask you when you last had any food or drink so they know how to proceed with your operation.
- You will have blood tests taken.
- You may have a support person with you, unless there are serious complications or you need a general anaesthetic. It is generally possible for someone to take photos of your baby being born, so ask your support person to bring a camera if they have one.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to tell the doctors or midwives if you are feeling worried. If you have any special preferences, please talk to your doctor or midwife beforehand, so they can try to support your choices.
- If the doctor believes you are at increased risk of blood clots, you may be measured for compression stockings to wear during the operation.
- The theatre team will clean your abdomen with antiseptic and cover it with sterile cloths to reduce the risk of infection. In many hospitals, the hair around the area to be cut is shaved so that it is easier to clean. You will have a catheter (plastic tube) inserted into your bladder so that it remains empty during the operation.
DURING A CAESAREAN SECTION
The actual operation usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. It will involve:
- The doctor will make a cut in your abdomen and your uterus (both about 10 cm long).
- Your baby will be lifted out through the cut. Sometimes the doctor may use forceps to help lift out your baby’s head.
- Your baby will be carefully checked.
- You will be able to hold your baby soon afterwards. Skin-to-skin contact can strengthen your early bond with your baby and make breastfeeding easier.
- If you cannot hold your baby in the operating theatre, your support person will most likely be able to hold your baby instead.
- The umbilical cord will be cut and your placenta removed.
- An injection will usually be given to make your uterus contract and to minimise bleeding.
- Antibiotics will be given to reduce the risk of infection.
- The layers of muscle, fat and skin will be stitched back together and a dressing will be applied over the wound.