How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If your C-section is scheduled in advance, your health care provider might suggest talking with an anesthesiologist about options for anesthesia during delivery.

Your health care provider might also recommend certain blood tests before your C-section. These tests will provide information about your blood type and your level of hemoglobin — the main component of red blood cells. These details will be helpful to your health care team in the unlikely event that you need a blood transfusion during the C-section.

If complications with your health or the baby's health prompt a C-section before 39 weeks of pregnancy, your baby's lung maturity might be tested before the C-section. This is done with amniocentesis — a procedure in which a sample of the fluid that surrounds and protects the baby in the uterus (amniotic fluid) is removed from the uterus for testing. Maturity amniocentesis can offer assurance that the baby is ready for birth.

Even if you're planning a vaginal birth, it's important to prepare for the unexpected. Discuss the possibility of a C-section with your health care provider well before your due date. Ask questions, share your concerns and review the circumstances that might make a C-section the best option. In an emergency, your health care provider might not have time to explain the procedure or answer your questions in detail.

After a C-section, you'll need time to rest and recover. Consider recruiting help ahead of time for the weeks following the birth of your baby. This might include household help or child care for other children.

Jun. 12, 2012