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Delivering By C-section

One of the hot topics about child birth remains the “C-section”. Is it safe? When is it applied? What are the risks and so on… In many instances, there is a significant chance that during childbirth a woman will deliver by C-section, or Cesarean section, which is a surgical incision made in the abdomen and then into the uterus to deliver the baby or babies. Circumstances vary greatly and can be quite different with each pregnancy, and vary from woman to woman. Each woman’s individual medical and reproductive history is taken into consideration during the prenatal period, and is continuously evaluated throughout the pregnancy by the obstetrician. If warranted, a C-section will be scheduled to take place before actual labor begins, though this doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman won’t go into labor spontaneously before her scheduled delivery date.

A history of certain medical conditions may require a C-section When the baby, mother, or both are in distress, a C-section is the fastest way to deliver the baby without further complications. Developmental abnormalities or fetal anomalies require delivery by C-section, as do breech or transverse fetal positions. Other indicators for a C-section delivery are irregular or decreased fetal heart tones, prolonged labor or labor that has failed to progress, a very large baby, baby unable to pass through mother’s hips, prolapsed umbilical cord, separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus (placenta abruption), blockage of the birth canal by the placenta (placenta previa), or maternal illness, such as chronic medical conditions, pregnancy-related conditions (pre-eclampsia), HIV infection, or active genital herpes. A C-section is usually performed under regional anesthesia, allowing the mother to be awake and witness the birth of the baby. However, some types of emergency situations may require general anesthesia putting the mother completely asleep. 

Despite the fact that a C-section is major surgery, it is relatively safe and has a low rate of complications. There is still a certain level of risk involved, as with any surgical procedure; bleeding and infection, injury to the bladder or urinary tract, or even injury to the baby could occur. Prenatal classes are offered to expectant mothers and their significant others, and cover everything from vaginal delivery versus C-section, to how to select a car seat and bathe the baby. Even if a C-section delivery is not anticipated, physicians should discuss it with their patients prior to labor and delivery, to lessen their anxiety and promote a positive birth experience in the event a surgical birth is required. The expectant mother needs to feel comfortable with her prenatal care provider and trust in the level of care that is provided, and in the recommendations made to ensure that the pregnancy results in a happy healthy baby.   

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