These days your biggest worry about the your baby's birth might be whether it should be by c-section or by vaginal birth. However, it was only as long ago as when your own mother was born (or maybe your grandmother) that the biggest concern for a pregnant woman was whether she would live through the experience.

Three things we can be very grateful for these days: Modern Medicine, Good Nutrition, and C-sections! It is because of these three things that the potential deaths of women and their baby's are no longer the main concern of the vast majority of pregnancies. In the past childbirth was very scary, with some women suffering a fate worse than death in the form of permanent disability - in the most horrific cases where her pelvis was intentionally broken in order to free her baby from the birth canal but leaving her unable to walk or move for the rest of her life. In the past, many people suffered from rickets (and therefore a malformed pelvis) and even when a barber or farmer was called in as a "surgeon" to perform a c-section, the chance of death was still extremely high. 

Today we are incredibly lucky to live in a time where we have so much knowledge about how our bodies work, and can make sure we have access to good quality food and supplements to make sure it functions as well as possible. We also have all kinds of modern technology to help us when there are problems, and sometimes just for convenience.

C-sections have not only become a life-saving surgery, but they have had a positive impact on families where the birth partner travels and so the mother can choose an elective c-section so that the birth partner can be there for such a miraculous event!

However, this amazing advancement is not without it's risks and it's important to find out the facts before you make your decision. Luckily c-sections are a very commonly used surgery and so doctors have become highly skilled at doing them, so if you must have one you can feel it is a good choice.

When a c-section must be performed:

  • Complete placenta previa at term  
  • Transverse lie at complete dilation
  • Prolapsed cord
  • Abrupted placenta
  • Eclampsia or HELLP with failed induction of labour
  • Larger uterine tumour that blocks the cervix at complete dilation (Most fibroids will move upwards as the cervix opens, moving it out of the baby's path)
  • True fetal distress confirmed with a fetal scalp sampling or biophysical profile True absolute cephalopelvic disproportion or CPD (baby too large for pelvis). This is extremely rare and only associated with a pelvic deformity (or an incorrectly healed pelvic break). Fetal positioning during labour and maternal position during second stage, most notably when women are in a semi-sitting position, cause most CPD diagnosed in current obstetrics.
  • Uterine rupture
  • Initial outbreak of herpes at outset of labour
Links to other websites with useful information:

Childbirth Connection - Specifically their document titled "What every woman needs to know about Caesarean Section" - A website aimed at providing a balanced view of carsarean section

Magazine Article