Important Questions Concerning Caesarian Sections

caesarianAre you scared to death about the impending birth of your baby?

It's completely natural to be frightened. There are many things that could go wrong, but there are things you can do to relieve some of the anxiety. Be informed. Be prepared. Be ready for anything.

Caesarian Sections are very common and are performed when it may be impossible or unsafe to deliver the baby vaginally. To help you be prepared in the event of a caesarian section, I've compiled this short list of important questions.

What is a Caesarian Section?
A Caesarian section, or c-section, is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made in the pregnant mother's abdomen and uterus in order to deliver a baby. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately 1 in 5 babies are delivered in this way. Since the majority of these caesarian sections are unexpected, it's a good idea to know a little bit about them, even if you are not having a high-risk pregnancy.

Why might I need a Caesarian Section?
Caesarian sections are performed when the health of the mother or baby is in jeopardy. Sometimes the necessity of a caesarian section can be anticipated, but most of the time the decision is made on the spot. You might need a Caesarian Section if:

  • The cervix stops dilating or the baby stops progressing down the birth canal and all attempts to stimulate uterine contractions to get things moving have failed.
  • The baby's heart rate becomes irregular and he or she may not be able to withstand continued labor and vaginal delivery.
  • The baby's body is in an abnormal position, such as breech position where the baby's buttocks is coming out first, or if the baby is lying horizontally across the birth canal.
  • The baby's head is face-up, instead of face-down.
  • There is a problem with your placenta, such as placental abruption, where the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before labor begins, or placenta previa, where the placenta is delivered first, cutting off your baby's oxygen supply.
  • You have had a previous caesarian section birth.
  • Your baby has a health problem and will need immediate medical attention after birth.
  • You have a serious health problem, like diabetes, heart or lung disease, or high blood pressure, and need induced labor, which can have adverse affects.
  • Your baby is very large or if you have a small or abnormal pelvis.
  • You have a primary herpes simplex infection in your genital tract, since the infection could be passed to your baby, leading to serious disease.
  • A loop in the umbilical cord comes through the cervix, or prolapses, and becomes compressed, decreasing the baby's oxygen supply.
  • You are carrying twins or multiples, since there is a higher possibility that one of the babies will be in an abnormal position.

What's the down side?
As with any major surgery, there are several risks involved with caesarian section births. The estimated risk of a mother dying after a Caesarian birth is less than one in 2,500. As a comparison, the estimated risk of a mother dying after a vaginal birth is less than one in 10,000.

  • There is a risk of infecting other, nearby organs, such as the bladder or kidneys.
  • Blood loss for caesarian sections is, on average, twice as much as with vaginal births. Even so, transfusions are only needed in about 1%-6% of cases.
  • Surgery of any kind often causes the bowels to slow down for several days, resulting in distention, bloating, and discomfort.
  • Both hospital stay and recovery times are longer for Caesarian Section births.
  • In any situation where general anesthesia is used, there is a risk of pneumonia or unexpected reactions to the anesthetics.
  • If the baby's due date was incorrectly calculated, it could result in premature delivery.
  • Babies born by caesarian section are more likely to develop breathing problems during the first few days of life.
  • There is a slight possibility that the surgeon could make a mistake and nick the baby while making the incision in the uterus.

Caesarian sections are more dangerous than vaginal births, and should only be performed when absolutely necessary. Since the decision to have a caesarian section is often unanticipated, it is important that you are familiar with the procedure, and discuss all of the possible scenarios with your doctor.

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Important Questions Concerning Caesarian Sections

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13 comments

  1. Chimere says:

    This is my 3rd pregnancy and she is traverse breech so a C-Section is likely. This will be my first C-Section and I don’t really know why she won’t turn but as long as she’s healthy I will be ok. I’m nervous, anxious and afraid even though I’m a nurse and pretty up-to-date with the procedure and I trust my OB/GYN but I’m still stressing over the idea of abdominal surgery.

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m expecting #3 and will be having my third C-section. With my first, my husband and I did our level best to have a natural delivery. We went to our Bradley classes, eat right, and did our exercises. However, the last few weeks of pregnancy showed that our son was not only large, his abdomen was larger than his head or shoulders. This is a significant risk factor for both mother and child. A week before he was due, his ultrasound measured weight was 9lb 6oz and our doctor recommended induction to have the best chance at a vaginal delivery. After a long labor, my cervix started swelling back closed again and we opted for the c-section. It was scary, especially for my husband, but definitely the right decision.
    When our daughter was on her way, I learned that VBAC is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, risk to mom is fractionally less, but risk to baby is many times more, including death and brain damage. What mom choses more risk to her baby? It’s just as well, since she was 9lb 11oz. The recovery was quicker with my second C-section and the both of them just weren’t that bad. My wisdom teeth were worse. Do I wish I could have delivered my son naturally, yes, but we made the decisions that we had to make. I am comforted by my wonderful mother-in-law’s words (mother of 5 naturally) “There ain’t nothing magical about a vaginal delivery.”

    Bottom line: don’t be scared, it’s going to be fine, either way.

  3. NaQuithia says:

    I dread the need to have to have a c-section again. My last birth was breech and by c-section. The most painful and myserable experience I’ve had in my life. I wish that I could have another vaginal birth. Seems that this one is going to be breech with another c-section.

  4. SRThiebeau says:

    Diagnosed with marginal placenta pre via and scheduling c section

  5. Sara says:

    I’m getting induced and having a big baby, so I am hoping I do not need a C-section; though I know anything could happen, I just want him born safely!

  6. AmyC says:

    Good info for the just in case

  7. ritz22 says:

    I am having my second c- section on the 27th of this month. hoping all go’s well. i had good doctors when i had my first son in pittsburgh. now i am home in buffalo ny and a bit worried that they wont do as good of a job as the others. but i am hoping for the best. i was worried about giving birth naturally they told me i could hurt my uteruis and may not be able to have another child so thats why i am having a c- section.. wish me luck..

  8. sej518 says:

    Trying to avoid a c section at all costs! I really want to be able to deliver naturally.

  9. Faleshia says:

    Going to see my OB tomorrow im so glad i read this article first now i know what to ask. and i wonder if a scheduled c-section has a faster recovery than that of an unplanned one? good article!

  10. Julie says:

    This will be my first one and at first I wanted a c-section, but now, I want to deliver naturally.

  11. jasmine says:

    this will be my second one

  12. Hoping for all natural.

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