Caesarean Sections

Elective Caesarean Section

An elective Caesarean section is planned before you go into labour. An operative delivery may be necessary because your baby is in an awkward position, like transverse or breech, because the placenta is low or because you are having twins or more. Around one in ten women in the UK give birth by planned C-section, most of these are for medical reasons, but the numbers are climbing because increasingly women are choosing an elective section.

Your birth experience

If your baby is delivered by Caesarean section under regional anaesthesia, your partner will be able to sit with you in the operating theatre and share the joy and excitement of the birth. You should be able to bond with your baby immediately, with skin-to-skin contact.

An elective Caesarean is a very positive way to enter the modern world, and you have the benefit of modern medications including antibiotics, and injections to stop blood clots, to prevent any problems.

With a planned Caesarean, you will be able to mark a date in your diary when your baby will be born, so you can pack a bag, clear your partner’s diary, fill the freezer and book the babysitter in advance.

Emergency Caesarean Section

Sometimes birth doesn’t go according to plan. It’s a complex and delicate process which can need a helping hand. Maybe labour gets stuck and fails to progress, or your little one shows signs of distress, or your baby is breech and things are getting a little tricky, then it can be safest for you and your baby to have a surgical birth.

An emergency section sounds scary but this usually describes an operation that has not been planned in advance.  This may not be the birth you described and intended in your birth plan, but the priority for everyone in the delivery room is that both you and your baby are healthy.

What happens during a caesarean?

  • The obstetrician will explain exactly what is going to happen, talk you through any potential problems and ask you to sign your consent to the procedure.
  • The upper bit of your pubic hair will be shaved or clipped away, so that hair won’t stick in the wound and affect healing.
  • You will be given some antacid medication to settle your stomach. This stops anything coming back up into your throat.
  • A drip will be put into your arm, this can keep you hydrated, help the anaesthetist control your blood pressure, allow any intravenous medication to be given and enable rapid transfusion if there are any problems.
  • An anaesthetist will give you regional anaesthetic, it will numb your pelvis and legs, but you’ll stay awake. This may be an epidural or a spinal anaesthetic. Either way, you should feel no pain during the operation, although you may feel a little rummaging around.
  • When you are numb, a tube called a catheter will be put in, to drain the bladder. This means you won’t have to struggle with a bedpan and urinate for yourself until you’re back on your feet.
  • Your lower body will be covered with sterile sheets and a screen will be put up so you can't see all the surgical procedure.
  • The surgeon will make a small cut along the top of your bikini line.
  • There will be a further cut into the womb and your beautiful baby will be lifted out into the world.
  • The placenta is removed and you'll be neatly stitched back up, in layers. The scar should heal well, leaving a fine line that will be hidden by your underwear or swimwear. The whole procedure takes around an hour.

For further information and prices please contact us

Telephone: 020 3432 7022
Email: [email protected]


The Portland Hospital
212 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5AH


The Women's Wellness Centre
274 Fulham Road, Chelsea Walk, London SW10 9EW


132 Harley Street
London W1G 7JX

© Dr Duncan Birth 2022