Cesarean Birth
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
Answers

What is Cesarean Birth?

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

The following situations may require a C-section:

  • Large baby
  • Baby is not in a head down position
  • Maternal medical conditions (eg diabetes , high blood pressure , active herpes infection, HIV positive)
  • Placenta previa —The placenta (the organ that links the mother and the baby) may be blocking the birth canal.
  • Failure of labor to progress —Effective labor slows or stops before the baby is born.
  • Baby shows signs of distress, such as an abnormal heart rate during labor
  • Previous cesarean birth—In some cases, after one cesarean birth, it is best to have other babies delivered by cesarean.
  • Fetal anomalies—Fetal problems that have been diagnosed by testing during the pregnancy may require a C-section.

Possible Complications

Cesarean birth is a surgery, and there are risks involved. The estimated risk of a woman dying after a cesarean birth is less than one in 2,500. The risk of death after a vaginal birth is less than one in 10,000. Other risks include:

  • Infection—The uterus or nearby pelvic organs, such as the bladder or kidneys, can become infected.
  • Bleeding—The average loss is about twice as much with cesarean birth as with vaginal birth.
  • Decreased bowel function—The bowel sometimes slows down for several days after surgery, resulting in distention, bloating, and discomfort.
  • Damage to other organs in the abdomen
  • Longer hospital stay and recovery time—Cesarean stay is typically 4-5 days in the hospital after a cesarean delivery, and 1-3 days for a vaginal...
 
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