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Cesarean Section - Why It Is Done

Emergency cesarean

Some cesarean sections are done without planning, after labor has started. Medical reasons for an emergency cesarean may include:

  • Fetal distress (suggested by a very rapid or very slow heart rate).
  • Placenta abruptio, which can cause excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) and decreased oxygen supply to the fetus. For more information, see the topic Placenta Abruptio.
  • Umbilical cord problems that decrease or cut off fetal blood supply, as when the cord has slipped into the birth canal ahead of the fetus, and the fetus moves into the birth canal and presses against the cord (cord prolapse).

Other reasons you might need a cesarean

  • Difficult, slow labor (dystocia)
  • Labor that has stopped completely (failure to progress)
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion, a combination of the fetus having a large head and the mother having a narrow pelvic structure. This condition is often linked to failure to progress or dystocia.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: 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 information.
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