11 Cesarean Birth Nursing Care Plans

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Cesarean birth, also termed cesarean section, is the delivery of a neonate by surgical incision through the abdomen and uterus. The term cesarean birth is used in nursing literature rather than cesarean delivery to accentuate that it is a process of birth rather than a surgical procedure. This method may occur under planned, unplanned, or emergency conditions. Indications for cesarean birth may include abnormal labor, cephalopelvic disproportion, gestational hypertension or diabetes mellitus, active maternal herpes virus infection, fetal compromise, placenta previa, or abruptio placentae.

Nursing Care Plans

Cesarean section is currently the most common major surgical procedure in the United States. However, it carries risks to both the mother and the fetus. It also has a lengthy recovery period than vaginal birth. Some women may have difficulty attempting a vaginal birth later. Yet, many women can have a vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC). Hence, mothers need to work with health care providers to make the best decision for themselves and the baby.

Here are 11 nursing diagnoses and nursing care plans for cesarean birth: 

  1. Deficient Knowledge UPDATED!
  2. Acute Pain UPDATED!
  3. Risk for Infection UPDATED!
  4. Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume UPDATED!
  5. Risk for Disturbed Maternal-Fetal Dyad UPDATED!
  6. Risk for Injury UPDATED!
  7. Anxiety or Fear UPDATED!
  8. Risk for Situational Low Self-Esteem UPDATED!
  9. Powerlessness UPDATED!
  10. Risk for Ineffective Self Health Management UPDATED!
  11. Risk for Impaired Parenting UPDATED!
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Deficient Knowledge

Cesarean section (CS) is one of the most common major surgical procedures worldwide. Despite being a vital obstetric procedure that saves the lives of women and infants, it is not free of short and long-term adverse events for both. Childbearing women themselves, their relatives, and society might prefer delivery by a CS due to a lack of general knowledge about the advantages of vaginal delivery, fear from pain, widespread misconceptions about urinary and sexual functions after vaginal delivery, and the misbelief that a CS is safer for the baby (Wali et al., 2020).

Nursing Diagnosis

  • Lack of exposure
  • Unfamiliarity with condition and information resources
  • Misinterpretation of information

May be evidenced by

  • Request for information
  • Narrative misconception
  • Inappropriate behaviors
  • Inaccurate understanding of instructions

Desired outcomes and goals

  • The client verbalizes understanding of indications for cesarean birth and postoperative expectations.
  • The client states that they feel well prepared for cesarean birth.
  • The client recognizes this as an alternative childbirth procedure to achieve the best result possible in the end.
  • The client performs or participates in necessary procedures appropriately to understand the rationale behind the actions.

Nursing Assessment and Rationales

1. Assess the client’s or couple’s level of understanding. 
Determining the level of understanding facilitates the planning of preoperative teaching and identifies content needs.

2. Appraise knowledge toward the procedure.
Most clients fail to retain the information instilled during childbirth classes. Therefore, clients have difficulty remembering or understanding the details during the entire process.

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3. Assess the level of stress and whether the procedure was planned or not.
Defines the client’s or couple’s readiness to incorporate information. Clients who are extremely worried about surgery may need a detailed explanation of the procedure to reduce their anxiety to a tolerable level.

Nursing Interventions and Rationales

1. Provide accurate information in easy-to-understand terms and clarify misconceptions.
The stress of the situation can affect the client’s ability to understand the information required to make informed decisions. They may not process the new information if they do not understand the terminology.

2. Encourage the couple to ask questions and verbalize their understanding of the matter.
Provides an opportunity to assess and evaluate the client’s or couple’s understanding of the situation. Answer all specific questions that the couple has and fill in gaps in knowledge as necessary. Be certain that all information that you offer is correct.

3. Review indications necessitating alternative birth methods.
Cesarean birth should be viewed as an alternative and not an abnormal situation to enhance maternal and fetal safety and well-being.

4. Explain preoperative procedures in advance and present rationale as appropriate.
Explanation of the logical reasons why a particular choice was made is vital in preparation for the procedure. Immediate preoperative procedures such as surgical skin preparation, eating nothing before the time of surgery, premedications, and method of transport to surgery should be clearly explained by the nurse.

5. Review the necessity for postoperative measures. 
Educate the client about the rationale behind necessary postoperative measures such as indwelling bladder catheter, IV fluid administration, and placement of an epidural catheter for post-procedure pain relief (if preferred by the client). Knowing the rationale behind the procedures may allow the client to feel a sense of control over her situation.

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6. Educate the client preoperatively and reinforce learning postoperatively, including demonstration of leg exercises, proper coughing, deep breathing techniques, incentive spirometry, splinting, and abdominal tightening exercises.
Provides routine to prevent complications associated with venous stasis and hypostatic pneumonia and lessen stress on the operative site. Abdominal tightening reduces distress associated with gas formation and abdominal distension. Periodic deep breathing exercises fully aerate the lungs and help prevent stasis of lung secretions. Preoperative education can help reduce anxiety about the procedure and clients are more likely to comprehend what is being taught.

7. Stress anticipated sensations further during the delivery and recovery period.
Knowing the possible outcomes helps prevent unnecessary anxiety. Preoperative teaching aims to acquaint the client with the cesarean procedure and any special equipment used. 

8. Use visual aids during teaching if necessary. 
Draw pictures or show illustrations of anatomy, as needed. These materials could enhance the client’s learning experience and make it easier to understand and recall the teachings fully. See the resources section below for a list of teaching aids you can use. 

9. Discuss and develop a postoperative pain management plan and review the use of the pain scale. 
Developing a pain management plan with the client increases the likelihood of successful pain management. Some clients may expect that cesarean birth produces less pain than a vaginal birth or fear becoming addicted to opioid agents (Wali et al., 2020).

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Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other care plans related to the care of the pregnant mother and her infant:

References and Sources

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With contributions by Marianne Belleza RN.

Gil Wayne graduated in 2008 with a bachelor of science in nursing. He earned his license to practice as a registered nurse during the same year. His drive for educating people stemmed from working as a community health nurse. He conducted first aid training and health seminars and workshops for teachers, community members, and local groups. Wanting to reach a bigger audience in teaching, he is now a writer and contributor for Nurseslabs since 2012 while working part-time as a nurse instructor. His goal is to expand his horizon in nursing-related topics. He wants to guide the next generation of nurses to achieve their goals and empower the nursing profession.
  • This one is valuable for nurse-midwifery trainees. It’s good for to us make an advanced care plan and easy to work in the OB ward.

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