Common Causes of Cesarean Births

Over the past four decades, we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of births via cesarean section. Around a quarter of women will have a cesarean birth in the United States. There is some controversy to this statistic, as the World Health Organization believes that the cesarean rate should, ideally, be around ten to 15 percent.

To understand why there are so many cesarean births, it’s worth taking a look at some of the common causes. Here are just a few of the conditions that might make you a good candidate for a C-section delivery:

  • Breech or transverse position. When the baby is breech or when your baby is turned sideways, the safest type of delivery will be via the cesarean birth. This can lead to fetal distress, and may even require an emergency c-section.
  • Fetal distress. There are many conditions that can put your baby in distress, but most of them have to do with a lack of oxygen. In most cases, an emergency cesarean birth is necessary.
  • Placenta Previa. When the placenta is low in your uterus and covers the cervix, it makes it much more difficult to have a vaginal birth. Depending on how much of the cervix is covered, it’s likely you’ll need a cesarean birth.
  • Placental abruption. This is another problem with the placenta that usually requires a C-section. This is when the placenta separates from the lining of the uterus. This condition interferes with your baby’s ability to get oxygen, and may often lead to an emergency cesarean.
  • Rupture of the uterus. If the uterus tears during pregnancy, you’ll have hemorrhaging which can block your baby’s oxygen supply. This, then, needs a C-section.
  • Umbilical cord prolapse. Sometimes, the umbilical cord will slip down through your cervix and into the vagina. When this happens, your baby’s blood flow may be restricted and a C-section is usually necessary.
  • Previous cesarean. While 90 percent of moms who have previously had a cesarean can have a subsequent birth vaginally, there are some that are more at risk and don’t meet the necessary criteria to do so.


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