Skip to content

    Health & Pregnancy

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    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
    • Infection
    • 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.

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
     
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
     
    slideshow fetal development
    Slideshow
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    Article
     
    What Causes Bipolar
    Video
    Woman trying on dress in store
    Slideshow
     
    pregnant woman
    Article
    Woman looking at pregnancy test
    Quiz
     
    calendar and baby buggy
    Tool
    dark chocolate squares
    Slideshow