Both elective repeat Caesarean births and emergency Caesarean births are performed in the childbirth program at Grand River Hospital (GRH). Obstetricians perform Caesarean sections with the assistance of other doctors, midwives, nurses, and respiratory therapists.

If you had planned to have a vaginal birth with a midwife or family doctor, but need a Caesarean section, your doctor or midwife will refer you to an Obstetrician who can deliver your baby at GRH. Your midwife or family doctor will still be involved in your care.

Preparations for Caesarean Birth

If you are having a scheduled Caesarean section, you will be given a date (and time) to come to hospital to have your baby.

In addition to any special instructions you may receive, please:

  • Remember to have your pre-operative bloodwork done before your surgery.
    • Your healthcare provider will explain the best time to do your bloodwork.
    • NOTE: If you do your bloodwork too early, it will have to be repeated and may delay surgery. If you do not do your bloodwork before surgery, it can delay your surgery.
  • Do not eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before your Caesarean section (surgery).
  • Arrive at least 2 hours before your booked surgery time for pre-operative preparation. Come directly to the childbirth unit on 4D to register.

Frequently Asked Questions about Caesarean birth

What happens before Surgery?

It is important to arrive at least 2 hours before your booked surgery time. During this time your healthcare team will prepare you for Caesarean birth.

With your consent, your pre-operative preparation and assessment may include:

  • Intravenous (IV) fluids – it takes time for e to infuse.
  • Health history (e.g. any medications, allergies, or pregnancy complications).
  • Admission Maternal Fetal Assessment form – to ensure we understand your expectations and clarify any questions or concerns you may have.
  • Health teaching (e.g. what to expect during and after surgery).
  • Vital signs (e.g. your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature).
  • Abdominal palpation – to feel your baby bump for contractions, softness, pain.
  • Fetal Heart Rate (FHR) assessment – to listen to your baby’s heartbeat.
  • Assessment for vaginal bleeding and/or leaking amniotic fluid (water breaking).
  • IV antibiotics – to reduce the risk of infection during and after surgery.
  • Pre-operative medications
  • Foley catheter – for bladder management during and after surgery.

IMPORTANT: All procedures will be explained to you before they are performed. It might be necessary to have other tests done too. You may ask questions at any time!

How Long does a Caesarean Birth take?

The actual surgery takes less than 1 hour from start to finish. That is from the time you enter the Operative Suite to the time you move into the Recovery Room.

In most cases, one support person is welcome to attend the operative birth. They will be asked to remain outside the operating room until you are comfortable with your anaesthetic. Then they will sit at the head of the delivery bed to be a support for you. Other support persons will not be able to enter the recovery room and may be asked to wait elsewhere.

What happens after the birth?

When you reach the recovery room, your nurse will place your baby skin to skin and encourage you to hold your baby. Your nurse can also help you to start breastfeeding/chestfeeding.

You will spend about an hour in the childbirth recovery room and then you will be transferred to the 4A Postpartum Unit. Your baby will be with you in your room. The nurses are always available to provide and assist with the baby's care.

Expect to stay in hospital for approximately 48 hours (2 days).