The Caesarian Section (C-section)
Vijaya • onHealth & Beauty 10 years ago • 5 min read

C-section is short for Caesarian section, a procedure in which a baby, rather than being born vaginally, is surgically extracted (removed) from the uterus.

As the name "Caesarian" suggests, this is not exactly a new procedure. It was done in ancient civilizations upon the death of a pregnant woman who was near full term in order to salvage the baby. Julius Caesar (or one of his predecessors) was born by this procedure. Hence, the name "Caesarian."

The term "section" in surgery refers to the division of tissue. What is being divided here is the abdominal wall of the mother as well as the wall of the uterus in order to extract the baby.

Caesarian Sections are performed when it may be impossible or unsafe to deliver the baby vaginally, and are very common.

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.

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 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, it may not be able to be delivered vaginally.

  • There is a problem with the placenta, such as placental abruption, where the placenta detaches from the uterine wall before labor begins, or placenta previa, where the placenta is born first, cutting off the baby's oxygen supply.

  • The Patient has had a previous caesarian section birth.

  • The baby has a health problem, and will need immediate medical attention after birth.

  • The mother has a serious health problem, like diabetes, heart or lung disease, or high blood pressure, and need induced labor, which can have adverse affects.

  • The baby is very large, or if you have a small or abnormal pelvis.

  • The mother has 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.

  • There are twins or multiples, since there is a higher possibility that on of the babies will be in an abnormal position.


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.

As with any major surgery, there are several risks involved with caesarian section births.

  • 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 time 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.

Once a caesarian section, always a caesarian section" is an axiom that is simply no longer true! Vaginal births after a prior C-section can now be done! Whether or not you will succeed depends primarily on the reason for your first ceasarian section.

The woman has a better chance of vaginal birth if her first C-section was done for a "one-time" problem, such as breach (feet-first), fetal distress, toxemia, or placental problems.

If she had an unusual pelvic shape, you may also have trouble delivering vaginally. The doctor must know the type of caesarian section she had to determine if a trial for vaginal delivery can be allowed.

If it was a vertical uterine incision (not the skin) she will have to undergo a repeat ceasarian section. This type of incision, known as a "classical incision," puts you at a higher risk for a ruptured uterus if you try for vaginal delivery.



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