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Why is it necessary to have a C-section


Ken Slack, MD is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at McKee Center for Women's Health in Loveland Colo., and Irene Sokolowski, MD is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at OB/Gyn Associates in Loveland, Colo.

Question: Why is it necessary to have a C-section?

Answer: Nationwide one-in-three babies is born via cesarean
section. A C-section, or surgical delivery of a baby, can be planned
or may be needed after a woman has begun labor and complications
arise. Mothers-to-be should learn about cesarean delivery and why it is
sometimes needed.

A physician may plan a C-section delivery if he knows certain factors
exist that would make a vaginal birth risky. In this event, the obstetrician
and mother will select the delivery day after the mother is 39 weeks into
her pregnancy.

Reasons for planning a C-section include:

  • The mother had a C-section before and is not a candidate for or
    chooses not to have a vaginal birth after C-section
  • The mother has had other uterine surgery
  • The baby is in breech position or other mal-presentation
  • The mother has a medical condition that could put the baby at risk in a vaginal delivery
  • The baby has certain birth defects (such as hydrocephalus)
  • The mother has problems with the placenta
  • There are twins, triplets, etc.

Some C-sections are emergency deliveries performed after labor started and a complication has come up. Reasons an obstetrician may elect to do a C-section include:

  • Labor has failed to progress
  • The baby or mother is in distress
  • The mother has a condition that could put the baby at risk
    (herpes outbreak)
  •  Placental abruption (placenta separates from the uterine wall too soon) has occurred

All pregnancies and deliveries differ. A C-section is generally considered a safe procedure and has been used to save the lives of many women and babies. Work closely with your physician to decide what’s best for you and your baby.

Reviewed February 2011

Page Last Modified: 02/10/2011
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