Everything about the caesarean section

We get ready for a vaginal delivery and we rarely think about caesarean sections. Yet, almost one delivery out of four ends up with a caesarean section in Quebec.

Why practice a caesarean section?

There are many specific conditions that make vaginal delivery dangerous or even impossible.

  • Labour is slow and difficult;
  • The contractions are not opening the cervix enough to let the baby pass;
  • The baby is too big to pass through the vagina;
  • The baby is in the wrong position: for example, breeched (in some cases only, he can also come by the feet or by his side). It should be noted that if most breeched babies and twins required a caesarean section, it is not the case today.
  • The placenta is so low in the uterus that it blocks the baby in the vagina (placenta praevia). In that case, the C-section is essential and urgent.
A bit of history…

In 2008-2009, 23 % of the 84,475 births in Quebec ended in a C-section. 35 years ago, the rate was 5%...

The practice of this surgery dates back to the first century BC. In fact, its name is wrongly associated with the Roman emperor. A Roman writer of the first century had said that the first brother of Julius Caesar was born through this surgery. However, since Julius Caesar’s mother lived many years after the birth of her son, it is virtually impossible that she had this surgery because most women did not survive it at that time. The origin of the word remains obscure and controversial but we know that the term “caesarean section” was used for the first time in 1581.

What happens during C-sections?

C-sections are usually performed under epidural or spinal anaesthesia (lower body is numbed) and last about an hour. The future dad can be there during the surgery.

After having shaved the pubic hair, a catheter is inserted in the bladder so that it remains empty during the intervention. A perfusion is also installed to ease the pain when needed.

The surgeon then practices an incision in the skin, then another in the uterus. The baby is taken out, the placenta too and then, the uterus is stitched with stitches that will slowly be absorbed by the body.


It is usually necessary to remain in hospital for three to five days.

Of course, back at home, you cannot go jogging, have sex and undertake important cleaning jobs three days after a C-section! You must take some time to heal before going back to your normal activities. Doctors usually recommend a period of four to six weeks before returning to your regular activities such as lifting anything heavier than a baby, driving a car and having sexual intercourse.

The scar remains tender for a few days. During the convalescence of four to six weeks, it is normal to feel small cramps and to experience light bleeding or discharge.

Because natural birth plays an important role in the establishment of primary reflexes such as sucking, some babies born by caesarean section are not ready to suck. This is why, for some women, nursing is difficult in the first few days following a caesarean section. A good breastfeeding godmother is quite important at this point.

It is better to consult a doctor to choose the contraceptive method that will suit you best after your C-section.


Women who gave birth with a caesarean section can still give birth naturally without fear of complications.

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