What is a C-section?
A C-section also called a cesarean delivery or cesarean section is delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. The doctor or OB/GYN closes the uterus and abdomen with stitches after the delivery of the baby. The stitches dissolve later on their own.
Your doctor may recommend a C-section when he/she thinks it is safer for you or your baby than vaginal delivery.
When I need a C-section?
You may need a C-section due to one of the following reasons:
- When your labor is not progressing as it should be. When the contractions fail to open the cervix enough for the baby to move into the vagina for delivery.
- When you have heart disease and extremely high blood pressure.
- When your baby’s health is in danger due to abnormal heart rate or other health problems. When the umbilical cord, which connects the fetus to the uterus, becomes pinched.
- When your baby is not in an ideal position for easy delivery. Normally babies come out in head first position. Sometimes, your baby may be in a breech presentation. This means the baby is coming out feet first instead of head first. Your baby may also be in a transverse (sideways) or oblique (diagonal) position.
- When you are delivering two or more babies.
- When your baby is too large to pass through the birth canal safely. Large babies are at risk for complications during delivery, such as shoulder dystocia. This means your baby’s head is delivered through the vagina but the shoulders are stuck. If you have gestational diabetes with uncontrolled blood sugar levels, you are at increased risk of having large babies.
- When there the placenta has problems, such as the placenta is not formed, not working correctly, is in the wrong place in the uterus, or is implanted too deeply or firmly in the uterine wall.
- When you have an infection, such as HIV or herpes. These infections could be passed to the baby during vaginal birth. C-section helps prevent transmission of the virus to the baby.
- When you have a preexisting medical condition. A C-section enables the doctor to better manage your medical condition.
- If you have had a C-section or other surgeries on your uterus.
What are the risks of a C-section?
Just like any other surgery, C-section also has certain risks and possible complications for you and your baby.
The following are the possible risks from a C-section:
- Blood loss
- Injury to surrounding structures, such as the bowel or bladder
- Blood clots in the legs, pelvic organs, or lungs
- Reaction to medication or anesthesia used
Can I request a C-section?
Yes, you can if you have a valid reason. If you want to have a C-section even when vaginal delivery is an option, you should discuss this with your doctor or OB/GYN. Before making a decision about having a C-section, you should fully understand the impact of the delivery not only on the current pregnancy but also on future pregnancies. You also must understand that the safest method of delivery for both the mother and the fetus is a natural vaginal delivery.