Parent Time

Reasons for Cesareans:
When C-Section Births are Recommended for Mother & Infant Safety

Although around 20% of deliveries are by Cesarean section, there is some question about whether C-sections are being performed unnecessarily, either for the convenience of doctor, hospital staff or the mother's preferences.

The main reasons for doing a C-section remain safety-related; either the baby, the mother or both are suffering, and surgery is deemed more humanitarian than continuing with a natural delivery. In some cases, C-sections are planned and scheduled in advance because the mother has had previous Cesarean births, or because of known health problems. In fact, 80% of women who have natural childbirth after an earlier Cesarean give birth successfully. Unfortunately, many physicians don't inform their patients that Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) is usually safe and practical.

Statistics show that the numbers of Cesareans performed in the US are much greater than those recommended by the World Health Organization. The WHO also states that around 50% of the Cesareans performed in the U.S. are in fact unnecessary and are subjecting mothers and babies to the risks of surgery when childbirth would be a lower risk. The following is a list of the valid reasons women have C-sections.

1. Fetal Distress.
If the baby needs medical care or cannot stand the process of labor (for example if the cord is around the neck or the baby's heartbeat is too rapid, indicating stress), the doctor may perform a C-section.

2. Failure for labor to progress
Once the water has broken, the risk of infection increases. If the labor isn't going normally, Cesarean may be performed. This may happen in the case where the mother's pelvis is narrow and the baby's head is large, or the cervix isn't dilated enough after a period of time.

3. Baby position is wrong
If it's a breech birth (the baby is coming feet first) or a transverse lie (the baby lies sideways across the mother's womb), the doctor may opt for C-section rather than trying to turn the infant.

4. Placental or umbilical cord problems that can cause complications in delivery.

5. Disease
If the mother has a venereal disease or infection, the baby may be delivered by C-section to prevent transmission of the disease.

6. The health of the mother
If the process of giving birth has been too much, if the woman is frail or ill, these may be indications for Cesarean section.

7. Some women choose to have C-sections for reasons having to so with fear of childbirth. In these cases, it's preferably for new moms-to-be to talk with someone about their fears; if mother and child are in good health, vaginal delivery is safer and more quickly recovered from than a Cesarean. Sometimes educational experiences are more helpful in allaying fears than talk therapy; moms to be need to be informed of the risks, pleasures and possibilities of experiencing childbirth as a participant instead of a patient.

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