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When is a Cesarean Section an Option?

When is a Cesarean Section an Option?

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Scheduled Birth

The popularity of scheduled birth in the United States and other developed countries has skyrocketed over the past three decades. Once deemed safe only in serious emergencies, the option to choose a cesarean section is now one of the most common discussions between expectant mothers and their doctors.

In fact, according to research by the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly one in five births is now planned—a jump from just seven percent in 1990. However, many women aren’t aware of the potential risks a scheduled birth presents to their health and baby.

To help offer insight into the pros and cons of this type of procedure, the health experts at Southwest General will provide insight into what it entails, when it is an option and when a vaginal birth is a better alternative.

What is a Cesarean Section?

Cesarean section (C-section) is a procedure in which a doctor makes a precise incision in the mother’s abdomen and delivers one or more babies through it versus the birth canal.

Traditionally, the process is reserved for when unexpected problems arise during labor. Examples of when a C-section is almost always used include:

  • Labor is not progressing as expected
  • There is a risk to the health of the baby
  • There is more than one baby in the womb
  • The position or size of the baby presents a risk

Some medical providers are comfortable offering a scheduled cesarean section due to other circumstances. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), elective C-section procedures are usually not preferred, but could be an option for some women when maternal or fetal indications for cesarean delivery are present.

Risks of Cesarean Section

When making the decision about whether or not to deliver by C-section, more than convenience should be considered. Doctors truly want patients to understand the associated risks of a C-section, which include:

  • Infection to the surgical incision after delivery
  • Excessive bleeding that requires a blood transfusion
  • Blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs
  • Breathing issues in infants immediately after birth
  • Inability to deliver vaginally in subsequent pregnancies
  • Damage to the mother’s bladder or kidneys
  • Scarring internally and at the incision site

While instances of these risks are much less prevalent now than in the past, it is important to remember that a scheduled birth is always deemed a secondary option to vaginal delivery.

Quality Care for Expectant Mothers

Southwest General Medical Group, Inc. offers obstetric and gynecological care to women throughout the Greater Cleveland area. To learn more about our women’s health services or schedule an appointment, visit our website.