Topic Overview

You and your birth partner can take part more fully in a vaginal
birth than you can in a
cesarean delivery.

During a cesarean, the mother gets either a
regional anesthetic or a
general anesthetic. She can’t fully take part in her
baby’s birth.

  • Some mothers feel very strongly about being able
    to bond with the baby right after birth. Unless there is some
    complication, a mother can usually hold her baby within the first few minutes
    after a vaginal birth. After a cesarean, the mother’s time with her baby may be
    briefly delayed as her surgery is completed. This delay can be longer if she
    stays in the recovery room for a time after the birth.
  • When a general
    anesthetic is used, the mother is
    unconscious through her baby’s birth. This most often happens during an emergency cesarean.
  • If regional anesthetic is
    used during a cesarean, the mother stays awake. But she may not be as actively
    involved in the birth as during a natural birth or a birth without using
    medicines. If she gets sedatives, she may be groggy. Or she may fall asleep or not
    remember much about the birth.

Whether you plan a
vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) or a repeat
cesarean, discuss anesthesia options with your doctor before your

If you have a routine cesarean, your birth partner can hold
the baby while your medical needs are taken care of.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC – Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofMarch 16, 2017