128 Cesarean Birth, Before - Pregnancy Labor and Childbirth Health Library

Before a Cesarean BirthAntes de una ces¡rea

Before a Cesarean Birth

Whether a cesarean is scheduled or not, the preparation is nearly the same. Either way, your healthcare team will get you ready for surgery. Often, your partner can stay with you for most of this time.


For All Cesareans

All cesarean births, scheduled or not, require certain steps. To prepare for surgery:

  • You'll need to sign a consent form.

  • Any hair on your abdomen may be removed to just below the top of your pubic bone. (Do not do this yourself.)

  • A wash that cleans and disinfects the skin will be applied to your belly.

  • An IV (intravenous) line will be started to supply medications and fluids.

  • A catheter (small tube) will be placed in your bladder to drain urine.

  • A fetal monitor may be used to check your baby's heart rate.

For a Scheduled Cesarean

Before scheduling a cesarean, tests may be done to confirm your due date. This helps ensure that your baby is ready to be born when the cesarean is performed. Cesareans are often scheduled near the 39th week of pregnancy. Don't eat or drink anything after the midnight before surgery.

Why You May Have Labor

Even with a planned cesarean, some women are allowed to go into labor. This ensures that the baby is ready to be born. It may also help decrease the amount of blood lost during surgery. If you are having a planned cesarean, you and your doctor will discuss what is best for you.

Notes for Your Partner

In most cases, you can stay with the mother while she is being prepared for surgery. She may be feeling tense. Help her relax. Your support can mean a lot. If you'll be staying with her during the cesarean, you may be asked to wash your hands and put on special clothes.

Date Last Reviewed:

Date Last Modified: 2010-01-08T00:00:00-07:00