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:
- Deficient Knowledge UPDATED!
- Acute Pain UPDATED!
- Risk for Infection UPDATED!
- Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume UPDATED!
- Risk for Disturbed Maternal-Fetal Dyad UPDATED!
- Risk for Injury UPDATED!
- Anxiety or Fear UPDATED!
- Risk for Situational Low Self-Esteem UPDATED!
- Powerlessness UPDATED!
- Risk for Ineffective Self Health Management UPDATED!
- Risk for Impaired Parenting UPDATED!
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).
Related factors may include
- 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.
NANDA International Nursing Diagnoses: Definitions & Classification, 2021-2023
The definitive guide to nursing diagnoses as reviewed and approved by the NANDA International. In this new version of a pioneering text, all introductory chapters have been rewritten to provide nurses with the essential information they need to comprehend assessment, its relationship to diagnosis and clinical reasoning, and the purpose and application of taxonomic organization at the bedside. A total of 46 new nursing diagnoses and 67 amended nursing diagnostics are presented.
Ackley and Ladwig’s Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care
We love this book because of it’s 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 show 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 from NANDA-I 2021-2023 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.
Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:
- Nursing Care Plans (NCP): Ultimate Guide and Database MUST READ!
Over 150+ nursing care plans for different diseases and conditions. Includes our easy-to-follow guide on how to create nursing care plans from scratch.
- Nursing Diagnosis Guide and List: All You Need to Know to Master Diagnosing
Our comprehensive guide on how to create and write diagnostic labels. Includes detailed nursing care plan guides for common nursing diagnostic labels.
Other care plans related to the care of the pregnant mother and her baby:
- Abortion (Termination of Pregnancy) | 8 Care Plans
- Cervical Insufficiency (Premature Dilation of the Cervix) | 4 Care Plans
- Cesarean Birth | 11 Care Plans
- Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip | 7 Care Plans
- Gestational Diabetes Mellitus | 8 Care Plans
- Hyperbilirubinemia (Jaundice) | 4 Care Plans
- Labor Stages, Induced, Augmented, Dysfunctional, Precipitous Labor | 45 Care Plans
- Neonatal Sepsis | 8 Care Plans
- Perinatal Loss (Miscarriage, Stillbirth) | 6 Care Plans
- Placental Abruption | 4 Care Plans
- Placenta Previa | 4 Care Plans
- Postpartum Hemorrhage | 8 Care Plans
- Postpartum Thrombophlebitis | 5 Care Plans
- Prenatal Hemorrhage (Bleeding in Pregnancy) | 9 Care Plans
- Preeclampsia and Gestational Hypertension | 6 Care Plans
- Prenatal Infection | 5 Care Plans
- Preterm Labor | 7 Care Plans
- Puerperal & Postpartum Infections | 5 Care Plans
- Substance Abuse in Pregnancy | 9 Care Plans
- Cultural Birthing Practices and Experiences. An eBook that details the different cultural and ethnic practices during childbirth in Australia. A great resource if you want to expand your knowledge about these practices.
- Intrapartum Care for a Positive Childbirth Experience. A resource by the WHO that details what they recommend and what they don’t during intrapartum care. Check out the executive summary!
References and Sources
Recommended journals, books, and other interesting materials to help you learn more about cesarean birth nursing care plans and nursing diagnosis:
- Abdelraheim, A. R., Gomaa, K., Ibrahim, E. M., Mohammed, M. M., Khalifa, E. M., Youssef, A. M., Abdelhakeem, A. K., Hassan, H., Alghany, A. A., & Gelany, S. E. (2019, July 8). Intra-abdominal infection (IAI) following cesarean section: a retrospective study in a tertiary referral hospital in Egypt. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 19(234).
- Ahmadi, Z. (2020, 03 20). Identifying and explaining experiences of fear of childbirth and coping strategies: A qualitative study. Journal of Qualitative Research in Health Sciences, 9(1), 47-58.
- Ahmed, W. A. S., & Hamdy, M. A. (2018, August 21). Optimal management of umbilical cord prolapse. International Journal of Women’s Health, 10, 459-465.
- Akalpler, O., & Okumus, H. (2018, Sept-Oct). Gum chewing and bowel function after Caesarean section under spinal anesthesia. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 34(5), 1242-1247.
- Asim, M., Alkadi, M. M., Asim, H., & Ghaffar, A. (2019, January 21). Dehydration and volume depletion: How to handle the misconceptions. World Journal of Nephrology, 8(1), 23-32.
- Bonnet, M. P., & Benhamou, D. (2016, June 27). Management of postpartum haemorrhage. NCBI. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
- Boushra, M., & Rahman, O. (2021, July 15). Postpartum Infection – StatPearls. NCBI. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
- Bryanton, J., Beck, C. T., & Morrison, S. (2021, April 22). When Fear Surrounding Childbirth Leads Women to Request a Planned Cesarean Birth. Western Journal of Nursing Research.
- Burke, C., & Allen, R. (2020, March/April). Complications of Cesarean Birth Clinical Recommendations for Prevention and Management. The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 45(2), 92-99.
- Carvalho, B., & Habib, A.S. (2019). Personalized analgesic management for cesarean delivery. International Journal of Obstetric Anesthesia, 40, 91-100.
- Caughey, A. B., Wood, S. L., Macones, G. A., Wrench, I. J., Huang, J., Norman, M., Pettersson, K., Fawcett, W. J., Shalabi, M. M., Metcalfe, A., Gramlich, L., Nelson, G., & Wilson, D. (2018, December). Guidelines for intraoperative care in cesarean delivery: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Society Recommendations (Part 2). American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 219(6), 533-544.
- Chen, H., & Tan, D. (2019, February 21). Cesarean Section or Natural Childbirth? Cesarean Birth May Damage Your Health. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(351).
- Chokshi, A., Sifri, Z., Cennimo, D., & Horng, H. (2019, Jan-Mar). Global Contributors to Antibiotic Resistance. Journal of Global Infectious Diseases, 11(1), 36-42.
- Chung, F.-F., Wan, G.-H., Kuo, S.-C., Lin, K.-C., & Liu, H.-E. (2018, September 6). Mother-infant interaction quality and sense of parenting competence at six months postpartum for first-time mothers in Taiwan: a multiple time-series design. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 18(365).
- Cripe, E. T. (2017, March 29). “The Scarlet C”: Exploring Caesarean Section Stigma. Health Communication, 33(6), 782-785.
- Damanabad, Z. H., Valizadeh, L., Hosseini, M., Abdolalipour, M., & Jafarabadi, M. A. (2021, July 23). Comparing the Effects of Face‑to‑Face and Video‑Based Educations on Hand Hygiene Knowledge and Performance among Mothers in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nursing and Midwifery Studies, 10(3), 158-164.
- Fawole, B., & Hofmeyr, G. (2012, December 12). Maternal oxygen administration for fetal distress. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (12).
- Fernández, V. R., y Cajal, C. N. L. R., Ortiz, E. M., & Naveira, E. C. (2018). Intrapartum and perinatal results associated with different degrees of staining of meconium-stained amniotic fluid. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 228, 65-70.
- Fowler, J. R., & Simon, L. V. (2021, September 8). Chorioamnionitis – StatPearls. NCBI. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
- Galante, D. (2010, March 10). Considerations on labor analgesia and drug complications. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 105(eLetters Supplement).
- Ghi, T., Pasquo, E. D., Dall’Asta, A., Commare, A., Melandri, E., Casciaro, A., Fieni, S., & Frusca, T. (2020, October 13). Intrapartum fetal heart rate between 150 and 160 bpm at or after 40 weeks and labor outcome. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 100(3), 548=554.
- Gibbs, B. G., Forste, R., & Lybbert, E. (2018, January 31). Breastfeeding, Parenting, and Infant Attachment Behaviors. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 22, 579-588.
- Grant, E. K., Gattamorta, K. A., & Foronda, C. L. (2020, March 21). Reducing the risk of unintended retained surgical sponges: A quality improvement project. Perioperative Care and Operating Room Management, 21.
- Hasan, F., Ahmed, N., Jamil, R., Ali, L., & Khan, F. A. (2021, 06 30). Frequency and Indications of Primary Cesarean Section. Journal of Surgery Pakistan, 26(1).
- Ilska, M., Banas, E., Gregor, K., Salmeri, A. B., Ilski, A., & Cnota, W. (2020, August). Vaginal delivery or cesarean section – Severity of early symptoms of postpartum depression and assessment of pain in Polish women in the early puerperium. Midwifery, 87.
- Kim, D. R., & Wang, E. (2015, August 15). Prevention of supine hypotensive syndrome in pregnant women treated with transcranial magnetic stimulation. Psychiatry Research, 218, 1-2.
- Kjerulff, K. H., & Brubaker, L. H. (2017, October 20). New mothers’ feelings of disappointment and failure after cesarean delivery. Birth, 45(1), 19-27.
- Kruse, A. R., Lauszus, F. F., Forman, A., Kesmodel, U. S., Rugaard, M. B., Knudsen, R. K., Persson, E.-K., Uldbjerg, N., & Sundtoft, I. B. (2020, November 11). Effect of early discharge after planned cesarean section on recovery and parental sense of security. A randomized clinical trial. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 100(5), 955-963.
- Labor, S., & Maguire, S. (2008, December). The Pain of Labour. Reviews in Pain, 2(2), 15-19.
- Leifer, G. (2018). Introduction to Maternity and Pediatric Nursing (8th ed.). Elsevier.
- Li, L., Wen, J., Li, Y., & Li, Y. (2010, December 23). Is routine indwelling catheterization of the bladder for cesarean section necessary? A systematic review. BJOG: An /International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 118(4), 400-409.
- Macones, G. A., Caughey, A. B., Wood, S. L., Wrench, I. J., Huang, J., Norman, M., Pettersson, K., Fawcett, W. J., Shalabi, M. M., Metcalfe, A., Gramlich, L., Nelson, G., & Wilson, D. (2019, September). Guidelines for postoperative care in cesarean delivery: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Society recommendations (part 3). American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 221(3), 247.
- Miovech, S. M., Knapp, H., Borucki, L., Roncoli, M., Arnold, L., & Dorothy Brooten. (n.d.). Major Concerns of Women After Cesarean Delivery. NCBI. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
- Mostafayi, M., Imani, B., Zandi, S., & Jongi, F. (2021, June). The effect of familiarization with preoperative care on anxiety and vital signs in the patient’s cesarean section: A randomized controlled trial. European Journal of Midwifery, 5, 1-7.
- Nanthiphatthanachai, A., & Insin, P. (2020). Effect of chewing gum on gastrointestinal function recovery after surgery of gynecological cancer patients at Rajavithi Hospital: a randomized controlled trial. Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention: APJCP, 21(3), 761.
- Pillitteri, A., & Silbert-Flagg, J. (2018). Maternal & Child Health Nursing: Care of the Childbearing & Childrearing Family (8th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.
- Puia, D. (2018, Winter). First-Time Mothers’ Experiences of a Planned Cesarean Birth. The Journal of Perinatal Education, 27(1), 50-60.
- Rookesh, Z., Kaviani, M., Zarshenas, M., & Akbarzadeh, M. (2021, October 22). Comparison of Maternal-Infant Attachment in Cesarean Delivery Based on Robson Classification: A Cross-Sectional Study. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 26(6), 500-507.
- Salam Ramadan, S. A. E., & Farrag, R. E. (2018, October). Utilization of Self-Care Guideline to Promote Quality of Life Among Women Undergoing Cesarean Section. The Malaysian Journal of Nursing, 10(2).
- Sentilhes, L., Senat, M. V., Le Lous, M., Winer, N., Rozenberg, P., Kayem, G., Verspyck, E., Fuchs, F., Azria, E., Gallot, D., Korb, D., & Desbriere, R. (2021, April 29). Tranexamic Acid for the Prevention of Blood Loss after Cesarean Delivery. The New England Journal of Medicine, 384(17).
- Shen, D., Moriyama, M. H., Ishida, K., Fuseya, S., Tanaka, S., & Kawamata, M. (2020, May 12). Acute postoperative pain is correlated with the early onset of postpartum depression after cesarean section: a retrospective cohort study. Journal of Anesthesia, 34, 607-612.
- Solehati, T., & Rustina, Y. (2015, June 22). Benson Relaxation Technique in Reducing Pain Intensity in Women After Cesarean Section. Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, 5(3).
- Tennant, K., & Rivers, C. L. (2021, September 21). Sterile Technique – StatPearls. NCBI. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
- Vafaeenejad, Z., Elyasi, F., Moosazadeh, M., & Shahhosseini, Z. (2019, April 9). Psychological factors contributing to parenting styles: A systematic review. F1000Research, 7(906).
- Wilson, R. D., Caughey, A. B., Wood, S. L., Macones, G. A., Wrench, I. J., Huang, J., Norman, M., Pettersson, K., Fawcett, W. J., Shalabi, M. M., Metcalfe, A., Gramlich, L., & Nelson, G. (2018, December). Guidelines for Antenatal and Preoperative care in Cesarean Delivery: Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Society Recommendations (Part 1). American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 219(6), 523.e1-523.e15.
Reviewed and updated by M. Belleza, R.N.