In some cases, mothers may pre-plan a C-section operation. They would decide after consulting their doctor and family members. It may just the mother’s own discretion and choice to settle for the less painful C-section alternative.
While in some other cases, the doctors pre-plan a C-section. It is generally done if:
- The mother has had one or more C-section previously. This would increase the risk that the mother’s uterus will rupture during vaginal delivery hence C-sec resorts too.
- The mother has had any kind of invasive uterine surgery like a myomectomy – the surgical removal of fibroids.
- The mother is carrying more than one baby. Some twins can be delivered vaginally at times, but most of the time higher-order multiples require a c-section.
- If the ultrasound gives the impression that the baby is expected to be very large – a condition known as macrosomia. This happens generally when the mother is diabetic or the baby from a previous vaginal delivery has suffered trauma.
- If the mother has placenta previa – when the placenta is so low in the mother’s uterus that it may cover the cervix.
- When the expecting mother has an obstruction like a large fibroid that could make vaginal delivery risky, difficult, or impossible.
- The baby has a known malformation or abnormality such as open neural tube defects that could make a vaginal delivery risky.
- The mother is tested HIV-positive and a near-delivery time test shows large viral count.
These are just some of the cases in which doctors would plan a C-section for the mother. Generally, the operation is slated for/after the 39th week unless there is some other complication like a premature water break.
Sometimes, a C-section is not pre-planned. The mother and baby’s condition appear normal, but unforeseen complications on the delivery table make C-section the only way out. In such cases, a consent form needs to be signed by the mother or family members to allow the doctors to perform emergency C-section.
Generally, regional pain relief like an epidural or spinal block is given; general anaesthesia is only administered in the most severe cases.
An emergency C-section generally occurs in these case –
- If the mother’s cervix stops dilating or the baby stops moving down the birth canal.
- When attempts by a doctor to stimulate contractions to get things moving in the mother’s body do not yield the desired result.
- When the baby’s heart rate is unstable and the doctors feel that the baby cannot withstand continued labour or induction.
- In severe cases when the umbilical cord slips through the mother’s cervix. In such a case, the baby needs to be delivered immediately because a prolapsed cord can cut off the baby’s oxygen supply.
- In case there is a placental abruption – the placenta starts to separate from the mother’s uterine wall which means the baby will be unable to get enough oxygen unless delivered right away.
- If the mother suffers from a genital herpes outbreak when she goes into labour or when the water breaks (whichever happens first). Delivering your baby by c-section will help avoid chances of contracting infection. This is also true for all kinds of infection that the baby can contract while passing through the birth canal in case of a normal delivery.
C-section is a common operational procedure, so do not worry if the doctor chooses to implement this technique. It is always better to be safe through c-section than to attempt a normal delivery and run the risk of harming the mother or the baby.