Your pregnancy: The C-section
Sometimes a C-section is safer for you or your baby than is a vaginal delivery. Your doctor might recommend a C-section if:
1. Your labour isn't progressing. Stalled labour is one of the most common reasons for a C-section.
2. Your baby isn't getting enough oxygen.
3. Your baby is in an abnormal position. A C-section might be the safest way to deliver the baby if his or her feet or buttocks enter the birth canal first (breech) or the baby is positioned side or shoulder first (transverse).
4. You're carrying twins, triplets or other multiples.
5. There's a problem with your placenta. If the placenta detaches from your uterus before labour begins (placental abruption) or the placenta covers the opening of your cervix (placenta previa), C-section might be the safest way to deliver the baby.
6. There's a problem with the umbilical cord. A C-section might be recommended if a loop of umbilical cord slips through your cervix ahead of your baby or if the cord is compressed by the uterus during contractions.
7. You or your baby have a health concern. Your health care provider might suggest a C-section if you have a medical condition that could make labour dangerous, such as unstable heart disease or high blood pressure.
Recovery from a C-section takes longer than does recovery from a vaginal birth. And like other types of major surgery, C-sections also carry a higher risk of complications.
Risks to your baby include:
1. Breathing problems. Babies born by C-section are more likely to develop transient tachypnea - a breathing problem marked by abnormally fast breathing during the first few days after birth.
2. Surgical injury. Although rare, accidental nicks to the baby's skin can occur during surgery.
Risks to you include:
1. Inflammation and infection of the membrane lining the uterus.
2. Increased bleeding. You're likely to lose more blood with a C-section than with a vaginal birth.
3. Reactions to anaesthesia. Adverse reactions to any type of anaesthesia are possible.
4. Blood clots. The risk of developing a blood clot inside a vein - especially in the legs or pelvic organs - is greater after a C-section than after a vaginal delivery.
5. Increased risks during future pregnancies. After a C-section, you face a higher risk of potentially serious complications in a subsequent pregnancy - including bleeding and problems with the placenta - than you would after a vaginal delivery.
After a C-section, most mothers and babies stay in the hospital for about three days.
Soon after your C-section, you'll be encouraged to get up and walk. Moving around can speed your recovery and help prevent constipation and potentially dangerous blood clots.
It takes about four to six weeks for a C-section incision to heal.