Cesarean Section - Why It Is Done
cesarean deliveries are planned ahead of time. Others
are done when a quick delivery is needed to ensure the mother's and infant's
Some cesarean sections are
planned when a known medical problem would make labor dangerous for the mother
or baby. Medical reasons for a planned cesarean may include:
A fetus in any position that is not head-down
breech position). For more information, see the topic
Breech Position and Breech Birth. Decreased blood supply to the
placenta before birth, which may lead to a small
baby. Estimated fetal size of over
9 lb (4.1 kg) to
10 lb (4.5 kg) or more.
A maternal disease or condition that may be made worse by the stress
of labor. One example is heart disease. A known health problem with the baby, such as spina bifida. A placenta that is blocking the
cervix ( placenta previa). For more information,
see the topic
Placenta Previa. Open sores from active
genital herpes near the due date, which can be passed
to the fetus during vaginal delivery. Infection with
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can be
passed to the fetus during vaginal delivery. 2 Multiple pregnancy. The direction and size of the incision
depends on the position of the fetuses. In particular, cesarean delivery may be
needed for multiple births involving:
Twins that share one amniotic sac
(monoamniotic twins), because of the risk that the cords will get
tangled. Three fetuses or more. Twins that are joined by any part of the body (conjoined). An overstretched uterus that cannot contract adequately
during labor (uterine inertia), making labor prolonged and
difficult. Poorly positioned or large fetuses.
Many cesarean deliveries are planned ahead of time for
women who have had a cesarean in the past. Medical reasons for a planned repeat
cesarean may include:
A current problem that has led to difficult
labor and cesarean before, such as a narrow pelvis and a large fetus
(cephalopelvic disproportion). Factors that increase the
risk of uterine rupture during labor, such as having a vertical scar, triplets or more, or a very large fetus thought to
weigh 9 lb (4.1 kg) to
10 lb (4.5 kg) or more. For
more information, see the topic
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). No
access to constant medical supervision by a cesarean-trained doctor during
active labor, or no available facilities for an emergency cesarean. Pregnancy: Should I Try Vaginal Birth After a Past C-Section (VBAC)?
Some women request to have a C-section even though there is no medical need for it. Experts don't agree on whether C-sections should be done when there is no medical reason. Most mothers and babies do well after C-section. But it's major surgery, and major surgery has some risks.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 23, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter
Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.