A c-section, also commonly called a cesarean section, refers to a surgical procedure that is used to deliver a baby when it is either not safe or not possible for the mother to have a vaginal birth. A c-section can be planned ahead of time and is determined by a medical professional. Their decision is based on any medical reasons the mother may be currently living with that could prevent her from having a normal vaginal birth or would make a vaginal birth more complicated. A c-section may also be a decision made during the actual birth when problems appear, like the baby being in a breech position.
According to the Mayo Clinic, even if you are planning a vaginal birth, it is important to prepare for the unexpected.
Reasons a woman may need a c-section
While it is always ideal for a woman to deliver her baby vaginally, sometimes it is necessary to perform a c-section. Attention is always placed on both the health of the mother and the baby when giving birth and accordingly a medical professional will determine which birthing option is going to be an ideal choice for each individual patient.
Common reasons a pregnant woman will need a c-section when giving birth:
- The baby is considered to be too large to fit through the birth canal, also known as cephalopelvic disproportion
- A woman is giving birth to more than one baby
- The labor is lasting more than 20 hours for a woman who is giving birth to her first child or 14 hours for a woman who has previously given birth
- The baby is in a breech position so the baby is upside down, which can prove to be a very difficult vaginal birth
- The baby is not getting enough oxygen, which can lead to an emergency c-section
- Because the baby has already been diagnosed with a medical condition, i.e. excess brain fluid, heart problems
- Because the mom has been diagnosed with certain medical conditions, i.e. high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, heart disease, HIV, genital herpes
- When cord collapse is present, which means that the umbilical cord is starting to come out of the cervix, which can reduce the amount of blood flowing to the baby
- When the placenta covers the cervix or separates from the lining of the uterus
When a woman undergoes a c-section it is essential for her to take proper care of her incision as well as get plenty of rest. It is completely normal for her to experience some levels of discomfort and/or pain for a couple of weeks after the c-section has been performed and for that reason, she can choose to take over-the-counter pain medications.
Will you need a cesarean section when you give birth?
There are quite a few reasons why a c-section may be necessary when giving birth. In order for you to know whether or not you will need to have a c-section versus delivering your baby vaginally, you will need to make an appointment with a medical professional for a full and thorough examination.