C-section FAQ: What is a C-section and why would it be performed?

It is helpful, even if you are not planning a C-section, to at least know the basics: What is a C-section? and why would one be carried out at all?

What is a C-section?

A C-section, also known as a Cesarean or Ceasarean is the birth of a baby through an incision in the abdomen. The incision is usually made horizontally just below the bikini line however in certain circumstances a vertical or “inverted T” incision may be made.

A C-section can be elective i.e. planned in advance of labour or an emergency when it is performed when something arises during labour that necessitates it.


Why would a C-section be performed?

A C-section would normally only be performed when necessitated by a medical reason which makes a vaginal delivery difficult or dangerous to mother or baby. In very rare cases a c-section is performed “on request” for a mother who does not wish to undergo labour.

A few examples of situations that may necessitate a C-section include (but are definitely not limited to):

Breech baby – when a baby is the wrong way around it can make a vaginal delivery very difficult or indeed dangerous for baby and often, particularly for a first time mother who has had no previous vaginal delivery, it is recommended.

Placenta Praevia – if your placenta is covering the cervix it will block baby from exiting and make a C-section necessary.

Baby’s heart rate drops – if during labour the baby’s heart rate drops and they cannot get it back up this may necessitate an emergency section to ensure baby’s safe arrival.

Of course there are lots of other reasons and each case is unique and individual to the mother.  Having a medical practitioner who is up to speed on best practice and who discusses all options openly is very important both for avoiding a C-section if you don’t want one or for explaining why one may be necessary to allow informed decision-making regarding the birth of your baby.

Image courtesy of arztsamui / freedigitalphotos.net

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