Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Why Might You Need a C-Section?


For the past 30 years, cesarean section rates have been on the rise. According to the CDC, the national average was just under 30 percent in 2005. That translates to more than one out of every four births taking place via C-section. This is disturbing, to say the least. The WHO recommends that the highest C-section rate should be about 15%. We’re at nearly twice that.

It begs the question: why are we having so many C-section deliveries? In some cases, it’s elective; in others, it’s because the doctor thinks there’s a risk involved.

Here are some of the most common reasons that you might need a C-section:

  • Problems with the placenta. Two major placenta-related problems can occur that would require a C-section: placenta previa, where the placenta sits low in the uterus and obstructs the cervix; and placental abruption which is when the placenta separates from the lining of the uterus, putting your baby in danger.
  • Rupture of the uterus. If the uterus ruptures, it can lead to hemorrhaging and cause trouble with your baby’s oxygen supply.
  • Cord prolapse. In some cases, the umbilical cord can slip past the cervix and protrude from the vagina. When that happens, it can impact your baby’s blood flow, and a C-section is usually necessary.
  • Breech baby. When a baby is breech, a C-section is often the best solution. While a breech baby can be delivered vaginally, a C-section is usually necessary if the baby is also in distress, premature, or has cord prolapse.
  • Fetal distress. When your baby has a lack of oxygen or other problem, a C-section may be necessary.
  • Failure to progress in labor. This is probably one of the more controversial uses of the C-section. It happens when labor slows down or stops.
  • Repeat cesarean. Most women who have had a cesarean can have a vaginal birth for a subsequent pregnancy. About one in 10, however, has a greater risk of uterine rupture and will usually have a subsequent C-section.
  • Multiple birth. Generally speaking, if you’re pregnant with twins or multiples your doctor is going to want to recommend a C-section.

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