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At Kingston Maternity the Consultant team do not routinely offer Caesarean section without clinical indication.
There may however be situations where the safest option for you or your baby, or both of you, is to have a caesarean section. As a caesarean section involves major surgery, it is usually only performed when the benefits of this kind of birth outweigh the risks involved with the operation.
Your baby is delivered by making an incision on the lower abdomen (just below your bikini line) and then into your womb (uterus).
In the UK, most caesarean sections are performed under epidural or spinal anaesthesia, which minimises risks to you and means that you're awake for the birth of your baby. A general anaesthetic (which puts you to sleep) is rarely used, but may be necessary in some instances if your baby needs to be delivered quickly.
If you have an epidural or spinal anaesthesia, you won't feel pain, just some tugging and pulling as your baby is delivered. A screen will be put up so that you can't see what's being done. The doctors will talk to you and let you know what's happening.
It takes between five to 20 minutes to deliver the baby, and the whole operation takes about 40 to 60 minutes. One advantage of an epidural or spinal anaesthetic is that you're awake at the moment of birth and can see and hold your baby immediately. Your birth partner can be with you. Your recovery after a caesarean section may take some time and you will need to remain in the hospital for at least 24 hours after the birth. Most women who have one caesarean section are able to give birth vaginally when they have another baby.
Further information can be found in caesarean section (planned).