• Health

Planning a C-section? Here's what you should know

Pregnant woman talking to doctor

In this article you’ll find answers to questions like: 

  1. Why would a C-section be necessary?

  2. What should you expect during a Cesarean birth?

  3. What happens after a Cesarean birth? 

A Cesarean birth, or what’s commonly known as a C-section, is when a baby is delivered through incisions made in a mother’s abdomen and uterus. 


  • Concerns for the baby’s health. 

  • The contractions may not open the cervix enough for the baby to come out. 

  • If a woman is pregnant with twins who are being born early or not in good positions. 

  • The baby is large.

  • The mother has medical conditions or there is a concern about maternal infections, such as HIV or herpes.

  • Breech presentation, meaning the baby is not set to come out head first. 


  • You will have an intravenous line put in your arm or hand so you can get fluids.

  • A catheter is placed in your urethra to keep your bladder drained.

  • You will be given medication.

  • You will be given either general anesthesia or an epidural block. This is to numb you.

  • If you are awake during the C-section, you should be able to hold your baby immediately after birth. 


  • Your vital signs and bleeding will be monitored. 

  • You may be in bed for a while and need help to get around. A C-section usually requires a 2-4 day hospital stay. 

  • The incision will be sore for a few days.

  • Mild cramping.

  • Bleeding or discharge for about 4-6 weeks.

  • Do not have sex and avoid strenuous activities until the doctor says it is safe. 

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Related resources

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    March of Dimes

    National information to improve infants' health by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality

    561-684-0102 Website
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    Florida Department of Health

    Family Health Line, a toll-free hotline with information on community resources related to pregnancy, breastfeeding, childbirth education, family planning, infants and toddlers

    800-451-2229 Website
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    Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County

    A safety net of local services and support for pregnant women and families with infants, focusing on racial disparities in birth outcomes

    561-623-2800 Website