A caesarean section is an operation during which an obstetrician will make a cut in your uterus (womb) which will allow your baby to be born. A C-section as it is often called is the most common type of surgery that women in England undergo.

Your C-section may be planned in which case it is called “elective” or it may be unplanned in which case it is described as an “emergency”. You may need to have an emergency caesarean section if:

  • Your labour stalls and does not progress
  • You or your baby develop a serious complication during labour

If the complication is not immediately life-threatening no more than 75 minutes should elapse before the caesarean is carried out. If immediately life-threatening then a C-section should be undertaken no more than 30 minutes from the point that it became necessary.

A caesarean section is major surgery and the mother needs to undergo careful monitoring following her operation whether she has an elective or emergency procedure. The complications which arise are usually associated with the reasons the C-section was needed in the first place rather than as a result of the operation itself.