7 Reasons You May Need a C-Section

Most women dream of their ideal birthing experience, whether that’s in a hospital with plenty of fluids and pain relief, or with the help of a doula and as little intervention as possible. While a vaginal birth is the most common, sometimes a cesarean section (C-section) is necessary or preferred.

If you’re wondering what might necessitate you having a C-section, the expert OB/GYNs at North Texas OB/GYN explain what could happen before or during delivery that might make a C-section a safer option for you, and help you to prepare for this scenario if necessary. The goal is a safe, healthy birth for mother and baby.

Here are seven reasons why you might need a C-section:

1. Breech or transverse presentation

Ideally, your baby (like most babies when close to delivery) is head down in the birth canal, facing your tailbone. Sometimes, however, a baby will fail to turn to this position and labor starts. 

The baby might be breech (feet or buttocks first) or transverse (shoulder or side first.) A C-section is usually safer for mom and baby if this happens, although your doctor will walk you through all of your options.  

2. Tiny pelvis, big head

If you’re a very small and narrow-hipped person, and your baby’s head is very large, it might be almost impossible for you to give birth vaginally. The baby could get stuck and your labor then stalls out. In this case, a C-section is also safer for you and your baby.

3. Placenta previa

The placenta, which helps nourish the baby from your own blood supply, is normally attached high up on the side of the uterus. The baby delivers first, then the placenta breaks away and is delivered, leaving the attachment spot bleeding. The uterus contracts and naturally stops the bleeding with pressure. 

If the placenta is between the baby and the birth canal (placenta previa), it could come free first, but because the baby is still in the womb, it keeps the uterus from contracting, meaning blood loss can be fatal. If you have placenta previa, your doctor usually spots it very early on and lets you know that you need a C-section for your safety and that of your child.

4. Multiples

If you have twins, your chances of needing a C-section go up, especially if labor starts early. Higher numbers of multiples have an even bigger chance of requiring a C-section. 

5. Previous C-sections

If you’ve already had at least one baby via C-section, you may need to deliver future babies the same way. Your doctor discusses with you whether a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is possible should you want to try to deliver vaginally. 

6. Gestational or preexisting conditions

If you develop high blood pressure (eclampsia) your doctor may recommend a C-section so your blood pressure can be returned to normal. You could also develop complications from gestational diabetes. 

If you have an active sexually transmitted infection (STI), your doctor will probably recommend a C-section to cut down the risk of transmission during birth. 

7. Emergency during labor

Finally, if you’re in the middle of labor and you begin to bleed heavily or your baby shows signs of distress, your doctor may inform you of the need for an emergency C-section to save the life of your baby, yourself, or both of you.  

Do you want to know more about C-sections, or ask about elective C-sections? You can call our Plano, Texas, clinic at 469-240-1866 or send a message to our team online.

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