A cesarean section, also called a "C-section," is a procedure in which a baby is surgically removed from the uterus. It is currently the most common major surgery, occurring about one million times a year in the United States.
Before the procedure begins, you will be given anesthesia to numb the pain. Your doctor will then make a six- to eight-inch incision in your abdomen (stomach) directly over your uterus. The incision can be either horizontal (side to side) or vertical (up and down). After the incision has been made, your baby will be delivered through it, and your placenta will be removed.
Although a C-section is typically safe, some rare complications can occur, such as infections or bleeding. It can take approximately four to six weeks to recover from this surgery.
(Click Cesarean Section for a more complete overview of this procedure. This article takes a closer look at potential complications, what to expect during and after your C-section, and more.)