Is a Planned C-Section Right for Me?
A woman may want a planned cesarean section to give birth for many reasons. For some, it's the best choice. But C-sections have risks of their own.
As long as there's no emergency, don't let yourself be rushed. Take the time to make a decision that feels right to you, for now as well as for your future.
Why You Might Have a C-Section
Sometimes a doctor will switch to this surgical procedure after a woman has started labor and then has problems.
Planned C-sections are different. Your doctor or midwife has found a medical reason for you to have one, but it's not an emergency. Two examples are that you've had a previous C-section and that you have a baby who's facing the wrong way. You and your doctor may even decide later that a vaginal birth is a better choice.
Some healthy women want the surgery so they can pick their delivery date or avoid a vaginal delivery. Those aren't medical reasons, and their doctors may disagree with that choice.
Experts from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology don't recommend these elective C-sections. They say you definitely shouldn't have one before 39 weeks. And they strongly discourage it if you want more children.
How It Affects the Birth
While C-sections are generally very safe, they're still major surgeries. Your recovery time will be longer than with a normal vaginal delivery, both in the hospital and afterward. And they carry risks for you and the baby.
You have a greater chance of:
- Heavy bleeding
- Blood clots
- Injury to other organs
Some women will need a blood transfusion.
Babies delivered by C-section are more likely to have breathing problems after birth. When they do, they may need to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit, usually for a few days.
Impacts Later in Life
Each C-section tends to be more difficult than the one before. If you're planning to have another baby, and particularly if you want a large family, talk with your doctor about how the procedure could affect your plans.