Caesarean sections for higher-risk pregnancies have made delivery dramatically safer for both the mother and child. Know the conditions that may require a c-section.
Sometimes, an emergency or an elective reason can cause a delivery to be done through an incision in the abdominal wall and uterus rather than through the vagina. The procedure is commonly called caesarean section or c-section.
The cases of caesarean births have gradually increased over the past 30 years. On an average, more than 1 in 4 women are likely to deliver through c-section.
While it’s best to have your baby through vaginal birth if your pregnancy is healthy, some medical reasons can make a c-section delivery inevitable. Some pregnancy complications make vaginal birth unsafe for the baby and/or mother, which is when your health care professional would suggest that you have a c-section.
Reasons for Needing a Planned Caesarean
A planned (elective) caesarean may happen because:
- A previous c-section with complications can cause ramifications for following pregnancies. An issue-less c-section can be followed by a VBAC ( vaginal birth after a caesarean), and is successful in 70 per cent of cases.
- If your baby is in a bottom-down (breech) position, and external cephalic version (ECV) isn't recommended or hasn't been successful, your doctor may deliver your baby surgically.
- When you are expecting twins or more, and the first baby isn't in a head-down position, a c-section becomes likely.
- If your baby is in a sideways (transverse) position or keeps changing his position, vaginal birth seems a difficult option.
- If you are suffering from severe pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, and having your baby by vagina will take too long to be safe, a caesarean delivery becomes a more favourable and safe option.
- When you have a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia), doctor decides for a c-section.
- If you have a medical condition, such as a certain type of heart disease, it is advised to deliver through a surgery.
- If you've gone through a traumatic vaginal birth previously, you may ask to have a caesarean.
- If you’ve caught genital herpes for the first time in your third trimester, your gynaecologist would probably go for a c-section surgery.
- If you have contracted HIV and are either not receiving retroviral therapy, have a high viral load, or also have hepatitis C, c-section becomes the sane choice. A vaginal birth is an option if your HIV is under control.
Reasons for Needing an Emergency or Unplanned Caesarean
Occasionally, medical staff will move quickly to operate so that your baby can be born safely (emergency caesarean). This may happen if:
- Your baby becomes distressed during labour.
- Your labour is long and slow (failure to progress) as your cervix isn't opening enough to allow your baby to move down the birth canal.
- There has been an unsuccessful attempt in using instruments such as forceps or ventouse.
- The placenta has come adrift in late pregnancy or during labour (placental abruption), which puts you and your baby in danger.
- A scar from a previous caesarean tears (uterine rupture). This happens to one in 200 women, though, so isn't common.
- The umbilical cord slips through your cervix ahead of your baby (prolapse of the cord). This uncommon complication means that there's a danger that the cord will be squashed as your baby descends, cutting off your baby's oxygen supply.
If your doctor has advised a c-section for your delivery, you must discuss your particular case with them in detail. It is best to ask for a second opinion if you are unsure if the decision is right for you.
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