Our cookies

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website.
You can allow or reject non essential cookies or manage them individually.

Reject allAllow all

More options  •  Cookie policy

Our cookies

Allow all

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website. You can allow all or manage them individually.

You can find out more on our cookie page at any time.

EssentialThese cookies are needed for essential functions such as logging in and making payments. Standard cookies can’t be switched off and they don’t store any of your information.
AnalyticsThese cookies help us collect information such as how many people are using our site or which pages are popular to help us improve customer experience. Switching off these cookies will reduce our ability to gather information to improve the experience.
FunctionalThese cookies are related to features that make your experience better. They enable basic functions such as social media sharing. Switching off these cookies will mean that areas of our website can’t work properly.

Save preferences

Emergency caesarean

An emergency (unplanned) caesarean happens when your obstetrician recommends a caesarean birth, usually when you are already in labour. If it is very urgent, then some of the preparations that normally happen may be changed or even left out.

An emergency caesarean birth is one that has not been planned for more than a day or two. How urgent it is can vary a lot. One that is less urgent can be done in much the same way as an elective (planned) caesarean birth. However, some caesarean deliveries may need to be done very quickly. This might be within an hour of the decision or, in rare circumstances, as soon as possible. The most common reason for a very urgent caesarean is if there is a sudden drop in your baby’s heart rate (sometimes called ‘fetal distress’).

In urgent cases, you will need a cannula (a thin plastic tube) placed in a vein in your hand or arm, if you do not have one already. You may be given antacid medication to reduce the acid in your stomach through the cannula rather than as tablets.

Please note: you don’t always need to have a general anaesthetic for an emergency caesarean birth – other pain relief options may be available. See our general anaesthetic page for more information on this topic.