What to Expect in a C-Section

|

Indications for a C-section

Let's start by defining a C-section. A vaginal delivery occurs when the baby is delivered through the vagina by natural means. In a C-section the baby does not go through the birth canal, but rather is pulled out through an incision made in the mother's abdomen and uterus. Unlike a vaginal delivery, a C-section involves a surgical procedure and is performed in an operating room under sterile conditions.

In the United States, approximately one in four babies is delivered by C-section, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

When to Perform a C-Section
It's important to note that, in most cases, doctors will opt for a vaginal delivery over a C-section. The reason is that a vaginal delivery is almost always considered to be safer for the mother and baby unless extreme health conditions warrant otherwise. C-sections may be scheduled in advance if certain conditions are present and both the mother and doctor agree that it is necessary.

Often, however, C-sections are performed in emergency circumstances because conditions indicate that the mother or baby is at risk for a potential problem. If the mother's or baby's health is at risk, then a c-section might become the immediate alternative for saving lives. So, you may go into the delivery room anticipating a "normal" delivery and suddenly find that you're going to have a C-section. It's impossible to tell when this will occur, but some of the circumstances that might precipitate this decision on the part of your doctor are listed below.

Maternal Indications for a C-Section
There are several conditions in the mother that would necessitate a C-section (or in doctor jargon, absolute indications – in other words, the doctor would always suggest or resort to a C-section in these cases). If these conditions are noted in advance, chances are good that you'll be scheduled for a C-section when your baby is at term. These health conditions include the following:

  • A woman who cannot labor for various reasons (for example, she has a serious heart condition).
  • A woman who has a small or contracted pelvis that wouldn't allow the baby to push through (sometimes this is known in advance, but not always).
  • Serious maternal health problems where a delivery through the vaginal area would put the baby at risk (for example, the mother has herpes or AIDs).
  • If the mother has had a prior classical C-section in a previous birth.
Fetal Indications for a C-Section
In addition, there are conditions related to the baby's health that would prompt the doctor to suggest a C-section over a vaginal delivery. These conditions may not be known in advance of the baby's birth. They include the following:
  • Problems with the umbilical cord; for example, the cord falls into the vagina (prolapsed cord, which would lead to emergency surgery) or the cord is pinched or compressed.
  • Presence of a complete placenta previa (where the placenta is covering the cervix).
  • Fetal distress – that is, the baby shows signs of distress such as a slowing heart rate or lactic acid buildup in the baby's bloodstream from lack of oxygen.
  • Fetal illness, which might include babies diagnosed prenatally with certain medical conditions, such as a heart condition or spina bifida (a hole in the spinal cord).
  • Multiple babies – that is, twins, triplets, or more.


|

excerpted from:

Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Pregnancy, by John Adams and Marta Justak, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit Amazon to order your own copy.


Pregnancy Day by Day

Tell us your due date to receive our daily newsletter and find out what is happening in this day of your pregnancy!

Already a member? Log-in here

Name of the Day

highlights

6 Questions to Ask Before Getting Your Child a Cell Phone
At what age should you get your child a cell phone? Before you decide to add your child to your family plan, ask yourself these questions.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

10 Great Mother's Day Gifts for Grandma
Looking for a special Mother's Day gift for Grandma? Bring a smile to her face with one of these thoughtful and creative gift ideas!

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

© 2000-2015 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved.