Recite me link

In 2016, the midwives and obstetricians at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust produced this video for parents to demonstrate what you can do to give your baby the best possible start at a caesarean birth. This video also shows skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby and delayed cord clamping.


Planned (Elective)

For a proportion of women, birth by elective (planned) caesarean may be recommended. This could be due to you having a pre-existing medical condition, because of your previous pregnancy history or because an obstetric complication develops during your pregnancy. The reasons for recommending an elective caesarean and the benefits and risks will be discussed as well as exploring whether there are any other options for your birth. If you think you may require or choose a caesarean birth, we would encourage you to read the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists leaflet on Caesarean birth here.


Preparation/Pre-operative care

If you are booked to have a Caesarean Birth you will receive an email around 1-2 weeks prior to when you ELSCS will take place. This email will contain the following information:

  • The date of your caesarean section
  • If your ELSCS is in the morning or the afternoon
  • Step by step details of what you need to do to prepare for your ELSCS
  • What time and where you need to arrive at Tunbridge Wells Hospital on the day of your ELSCS
  • Where to go to have mandatory blood tests, which all those having elective surgery are required to undertake, this is usually booked in for two days prior to surgery

You can view all the essential information for your caesarean here.

Anaesthetic/Pain relief

Caesarean section is performed under either a spinal or epidural for pain relief. Please click here for more information about the anaesthetic used for surgery.

Your hospital stay

It is common to stay in hospital, usually on the Postnatal Ward, for at least one night after a caesarean birth and your birth partner is able to stay with you. At Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trust we aim to get you mobilising as soon after surgery as is comfortable for you as this can improve your recovery. You will be offered regular pain relief whilst in hospital and we will advise you on how to continue to take your own pain relief at home.

Preventing complications

Women who have had a caesarean birth have a higher chance of forming a blood clot in the legs or lungs following surgery. Some women who have had a caesarean birth are given a blood thinning injection to reduce the risk of blood clots. If you have additional risk factors, you may need to have these injections at home for up to six weeks. This will be discussed with you on an individual basis. Please click here for more information on reducing your risk of blood clots in pregnancy and in the postnatal period.

Your birth experience/Kangaroo care

We are now able to offer most women having a planned caesarean the opportunity to have immediate skin to skin contact with their baby in the operating theatre using a KangaWrap Kardi. The Kardi was developed and researched by midwives at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to help women to perform Kangaroo care in the operating theatre after a caesarean birth. Our research reported that many women found the Kardi gave them a sense of security and warmth whilst their baby was skin to skin and it’s use was associated with an increase in the number of women who were able to breast feed successfully. Click here to read what parents say.

Please discuss this with your doctor and midwife during pregnancy and then let the midwife or nurse caring for you on the day of your caesarean know that you would like to do this. You will be shown how to wear the Kardi under your operation gown and your midwife will explain how to use it safely, until you feel well enough to get out of bed. Please note there may be certain medical conditions when this will not be possible.

Self-Administration of Medication after Elective Caesarean Section

Pain varies from woman to woman and therefore the type and amount of painkillers required will vary. We believe that you are the best person to understand what pain relief you need and when you need it. By aiming for excellent control of pain, it is more likely you will be less stressed, more likely to sleep better and have a speedier and healthier recovery. This can be achieved by asking yourself at least every four hours – “How is my pain and what is my pain score?”

At Tunbridge Wells Hospital, we supply you with your own painkillers and teach you how to take them when you need them. You will be given three different types of painkillers, depending on your individual requirements, and a supply to take home with you on discharge. Please read our Self Administration of Medicines leaflet.

Unplanned (Emergency)

An unplanned or emergency caesarean is performed if there are immediate concerns about mother or baby and it is not possible to deliver the baby vaginally. There are different categories of emergency depending on the level of concern for mother or baby. This dictates how quickly the birth of the baby needs to occur.

For more information about Caesarean births please click here.