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Caesarean sections are carried out in hospital. You may be asked to come in for an appointment a few days beforehand, and you might need to stay in hospital for a few days afterwards.
This page covers:
If there's time to plan your caesarean, you'll be given an approximate date for it to be carried out.
You'll also be asked to attend an appointment at the hospital in the week before the procedure is due to be performed.
During this appointment:
You'll need to stop eating and drinking a few hours before the procedure – your doctor or midwife will tell you when.
You'll be asked to change into a hospital gown when you arrive at the hospital on the day of the procedure.
A thin, flexible tube called a catheter will be inserted into your bladder to empty it while you're under the anaesthetic, and a small area of pubic hair will be trimmed if necessary.
You'll be given the anaesthetic in the operating room. This will usually be a spinal or epidural anaesthetic, which numbs the lower part of your body while you remain awake.
This means you'll be awake during the delivery and can see and hold your baby straight away.
It also means your birth partner can be with you.
General anaesthetic – where you're asleep – is used in some cases if you can't have a spinal or epidural anaesthetic.
During the procedure:
The whole procedure usually takes around 40-50 minutes.
You'll usually be moved from the operating room to a recovery room straight after the procedure.
Once you've started to recover from the anaesthetic, the medical staff will make sure you're well and continue to observe you every few hours.
You'll be offered:
The catheter will usually be removed from your bladder around 12-18 hours after the procedure, once you're able to walk around.
Read more about recovering from a caesarean.