Even though you may be planning to have a cesarean section, it is still important for you to know the signs of labor in case your labor starts before your scheduled c-section.
One of the first signs of labor is intense contractions of your uterus that come at regular intervals. Another sign is when your cervix starts to dilate and the protective mucus plug loosens and falls out. It is also possible for your water to break at this point. When your water breaks, this means that the amniotic sac in your uterus has burst and released the amniotic fluid. Usually, contractions will get stronger after your water breaks. If you have these signs, you should call your doctor or the birthing center to determine if you actually are in labor.
Once you are there, a medical professional should check to make sure that you are actually in labor. If you are not, he or she may want to observe you for awhile and then suggest that you go home with instructions about what to watch for. If you are in labor, the medical professional will prepare you for your cesarean section.
Before your cesarean section surgery, you will be given anesthesia, and a catheter (plastic tube) will be placed in your bladder to drain your urine during the procedure. Once you are asleep, your doctor will then make a six- to eight-inch incision in your abdomen (stomach), directly over your uterus. If you've had a cesarean section before, your surgeon will usually try to go through the previous scar. Once the surgeon is inside, another incision will be made through the uterus.
Your baby is then delivered through this opening. The umbilical cord is cut, and your baby is handed to a healthcare provider, who will take him or her to a small, warmly lit plastic crib, called a warmer. Then your baby is cleaned and dried, and eventually checked by a pediatrician.
Your placenta will then be carefully removed from your uterus. At this time, you may also receive Pitocin®, which is a drug that causes the uterus to contract and helps prevent serious bleeding. Your doctor will then close the incision on your uterus, and the incisions in your skin will be closed with surgical staples or stitches that will later dissolve on their own.