What happens during an emergency C-section?
You may have been trying for a normal vaginal delivery, but the emergency procedure is necessary when the doctor deems that it is unsafe to continue.
Even if your doctor is very experienced, sometimes there are situations that cannot be predicted before the start of labour, explains Dr Goh Shen Li, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in S L Goh Women’s Clinic at Mount Alvernia Medical Centre D.
Blood flow to the baby is compromised and it is crucial to deliver immediately.
These could be because of a prolapsed umbilical cord (the umbilical cord drops through the opening of the uterus into the vagina), excessive and sudden maternal bleeding, placenta abruption (when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall), uterine rupture (a previous C-section scar gives way) or that Baby’s heartbeat is showing signs of distress.
Other reasons could be the labour is not progressing or Baby is lying sideways across your tummy, rather than in a head-down position for a normal vaginal delivery.
During an emergency C-section, the aim is to deliver your baby quickly. Hence, things may happen very fast and at times it may be overwhelming for the labouring mother.
If you already had an epidural, the anaesthetist may have time to give you an extra dose of the medicine to numb you further.
If there is not enough time to give spinal anaesthesia, a general anaesthetic will be given once you arrive in the operating theatre.
The onset of labour and how it will progress are unpredictable, so sometimes it may not go according to schedule or plan.
Do keep an open mind about delivery because the first priority is to ensure the safety of mother and baby at all times.