c-section, cesarean section, VBAC

If you are pregnant, there is a 1 in 3 chance you will have a c-section.

Admit it – you were all ears during childbirth class when your teacher talked about Lamaze, massage, and the stages of labor. But the during the c-section discussion, your mind wandered to thoughts of baby names, pinks and blues, and your baby registry. The truth is, one in three deliveries ends up being a cesarean section, also known as a c-section. It’s definitely worth your time to pay attention and be prepared for anything that life – and labor – might throw your way.

Giving birth is a big deal. The labor and delivery process is miraculous – it is emotional, painful, and unpredictable. The ideal end result is a happy mother and a healthy baby. Over the last few decades, the rate of c-section births has increased from 3% to 31%. If you are pregnant or are thinking of becoming pregnant, it is never too early to learn about delivery by c-section.

Why would you have a c-section?

There are several reasons why a mother might have a c-section. Medically speaking, there are several risk factors that make it necessary –
• If the baby is breech – feet or buttocks first – it will make a vaginal delivery very difficult and dangerous.
• The baby’s head could be too big to go through the mother’s pelvis.
• If fetal distress is detected, often due to problems with the umbilical cord, the baby will have a slow or irregular heart beat and a quick delivery is needed.
• The mother could have problems with her placenta – like placenta abruptio or previa.
• If the mother has health problems – like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart trouble or preeclampsia – there could be complications for the baby.
• Multiple births are often delivered via c-section.
• The age of the mother can affect the doctor’s decision.
• Increasing uses of fertility treatments are leading to more multiple births and therefore more c-sections.

A c-section is a major abdominal surgery. It involves an incision that goes through the skin, abdomen, muscle and uterus. Organs are moved around, a baby is born, a placenta is removed, and the uterus and incision are stitched back together and readjusted. From pre-op to post-op it can take 3-4 hours, your hospital stay will be longer, and recovery can take weeks.

Once you are home, you will have restrictions on lifting (usually nothing heavier than your newborn), climbing stairs, and driving. If you are breastfeeding, you will have to find a comfortable position to hold your baby so as not to put pressure on your incision.

Once a c-section, always a c-section?

Not necessarily, if you have had a c-section talk to your doctor about a VBAC – vaginal birth after c-section.

Thousands of babies are born by c-section every day. They are a safe and common way to bring a baby into the world. Dr. Hessel has years of experience delivering babies by c-section. Call Dr. Hessel today – she is ready to talk about your pregnancy and help you start planning for a safe and successful delivery.