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Cesarean Delivery

If you're pregnant and a vaginal delivery is not possible, a Cesarean section (C-section) delivery may be a safer option for you and your baby. This allows your baby to be delivered surgically by one of our board-certified physicians.

Your C-section may be planned or necessary because of a problem during labor. Rest assured, we are here to give you the best care possible to have a safe delivery and healthy baby.

Planned and emergency cesarean section (C-section) deliveries take place in our state-of-the-art surgery suites.

What is a Cesarean Delivery?

A C-section is a surgical procedure where an incision is made in your abdomen and uterus to deliver your baby.

Reasons for a Cesarean Delivery

A planned, or elective, C-section is scheduled before you are expected to go into labor, typically around 39 weeks. Your doctor may plan a C-section if:

  • You are delivering twins or other multiples
  • You had a previous C-section and are not planning a vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC)
  • Your baby is too large to deliver vaginally
  • You have placenta problems, like placenta previa where the placenta blocks the cervix
  • You have a medical condition or infection that makes vaginal birth too dangerous

An emergency C-section may be necessary because of unexpected difficulties during your labor or delivery. These can include:

  • Abnormal fetal heart rate
  • Abnormal fetal position that makes delivery through the birth canal difficult
  • Labor that fails to progressWhat to Expect Before C-Section

For a planned C-section, check in at Labor & Delivery about two hours before your surgery time. An assigned nurse will accompany you through every step: birth preparation, procedure and recovery. A physician and anesthesiologist will discuss the surgery with you and review your medical history.

Expect to be in the delivery room for one to two hours before going to a recovery room in Labor & Delivery.

For planned C-sections, we encourage your support person to be present for delivery and stay with you and your baby during your initial recovery.

For emergency C-sections, the circumstances will determine who is allowed in the delivery room.

Clear Drape C-Sections

We use a "window" surgical drape for all C-section deliveries. This gives you the option of having the window open so you can watch your baby being delivered.

What to Expect After Delivery

Your postpartum recovery is in a quiet environment where specialized nurses care for you and your baby.

You'll be in the recovery room for about two to three hours after surgery, where we will monitor your blood pressure, pulse, respiration and temperature. As long as your baby does not need any special care, your baby and your support person will be with you.

Your doctor will examine your uterus for position, contractibility and bleeding to make sure everything is normal. Once your vitals are normal and you can move well without problems, you will move to the postpartum unit. 

Our care to prevent blood clots after C-section exceeds national standards. 

The average hospital stay after a C-section is three days. You'll need to have a support person stay with you and your baby for the first 24 hours. Sleeping arrangements are made to accommodate your support person in your postpartum room.

Breastfeeding After a C-Section

We encourage skin-to-skin contact with your baby after delivery and are available to help with breastfeeding. Our lactation consultants will visit you during your postpartum stay to assist with any breastfeeding concerns.

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Delivery Locations

La Jolla Hillcrest