11 Cesarean Birth Nursing Care Plans

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!

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.

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.

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).

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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Ackley and Ladwig’s Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care
We love this book because of its evidence-based approach to nursing interventions. This care plan handbook uses an easy, three-step system to guide you through client assessment, nursing diagnosis, and care planning. Includes step-by-step instructions showing how to implement care and evaluate outcomes, and help you build skills in diagnostic reasoning and critical thinking.

Nursing Care Plans – Nursing Diagnosis & Intervention (10th Edition)
Includes over two hundred care plans that reflect the most recent evidence-based guidelines. New to this edition are ICNP diagnoses, care plans on LGBTQ health issues, and on electrolytes and acid-base balance.

Nurse’s Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions, and Rationales
Quick-reference tool includes all you need to identify the correct diagnoses for efficient patient care planning. The sixteenth edition includes the most recent nursing diagnoses and interventions and an alphabetized listing of nursing diagnoses covering more than 400 disorders.

Nursing Diagnosis Manual: Planning, Individualizing, and Documenting Client Care 
Identify interventions to plan, individualize, and document care for more than 800 diseases and disorders. Only in the Nursing Diagnosis Manual will you find for each diagnosis subjectively and objectively – sample clinical applications, prioritized action/interventions with rationales – a documentation section, and much more!

All-in-One Nursing Care Planning Resource – E-Book: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Maternity, and Psychiatric-Mental Health 
Includes over 100 care plans for medical-surgical, maternity/OB, pediatrics, and psychiatric and mental health. Interprofessional “patient problems” focus familiarizes you with how to speak to patients.

See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

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

References and Sources

Recommended journals, books, and other interesting materials to help you learn more about cesarean birth nursing care plans and nursing diagnosis:

Reviewed and updated by M. Belleza, R.N.

Gil Wayne ignites the minds of future nurses through his work as a part-time nurse instructor, writer, and contributor for Nurseslabs, striving to inspire the next generation to reach their full potential and elevate the nursing profession.

1 thought on “11 Cesarean Birth Nursing Care Plans”

  1. 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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