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Caesarean birth advice and information

A caesarean birth is an operation to deliver your baby through a cut made in your tummy and womb. About a quarter of babies are born by caesarean birth and two thirds of these deliveries are unexpected. Our information helps you to understand the pain relief choices available to you should you need a caesarean birth.

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Elective vs emergency caesarean birth

If you know beforehand you’ll be having a caesarean birth, it’s called an elective operation. Your appointment will normally be before your baby’s due date, so you don’t go into labour.

An emergency caesarean is where your obstetrician recommends a caesarean birth, usually when you are already in labour. If it is very urgent (usually because there is a sudden problem with your baby), then some of the preparations we would normally do may be changed or even left out.

Types of pain relief

There are two main types of anaesthetic for your caesarean birth: you will either be awake (regional anaesthetic) or asleep (general anaesthetic).

Other information related to caesarean birth