Cesarean Delivery – Why Is It Sometimes Necessary

Thanks to medical advances, women who have difficulties delivering their babies now have a safe option of delivery called a Cesarean Section (also known as a C-Section).

Cesarean sections are done for a variety of reasons. These reasons have to do with the health of the baby and the mother. The doctor makes the decision when and if a C-section will need to be performed based on monitoring the mother and baby.

What are the indications for a cesarean?
Traditionally, a baby is delivered by C-section when the monitor or other indicator shows a life-threatening complication. The baby may have to be delivered quickly to save its life. In these cases, a cesarean is normally the best course.

Another reason a cesarean section may be performed is the size of the pelvis. Some women have small birth canals and large babies. When the head will not safely pass, the only option is a C-section. This means fewer traumas to both the baby and the mother. Also, when the natural softening and spreading of the pelvis during the labor stages doesn’t occur, a cesarean section is used to extricate the baby before complications can arise.

How is a cesarean section performed?
A cesarean section delivery is a major operation. As such, it is not performed in the birthing suite but in an operating room under aseptic conditions. Doctors and hospital staff wear sterile gowns and gloves so they won’t introduce any infections into the mother’s body.

The mother is kept awake for the procedure. She will be given medication to relax her, and antiseptic is used to clean her belly. There will also be a spinal or epidural anesthesia to block pain from the areas below her waist much the same as an epidural for vaginal delivery.

A scalpel is used to make the abdominal incision. A horizontal cut low on the abdomen is preferred by the doctor and mother for two reasons; the incision is made in line with the muscles instead of across them making for better healing, and the incision is hidden after surgery.

If a vertical incision needs to be made, it is made from navel to pubic bone. All the layers of tissue are incised. The doctor enters the amniotic sac, taking special care of the baby, and the baby is lifted out head first. After that, the routines of cutting the umbilical cord and delivering the placenta are the same as a vaginal birth.

The mother may see her baby above the drape sheet as the doctor works on the sutures. Recovery after a cesarean delivery can be a month or more, including a prolonged hospital stay. Again, a cesarean is major surgery and is treated as such in the hospital as well as with the after care.

Talk to your doctor about the possibilities of a cesarean delivery. If a cesarean becomes necessary, you will want to know the facts about the procedure before you are in the operating room instead of the delivery room.