Cesarean Birth (C-section)
A Cesarean (suh-sair-ree-an) birth is a procedure that allows delivery of a child through an incision in the mother's abdomen. The procedure enables a safe and quick delivery of the baby. An incision is made in the woman's lower abdomen and uterus allowing the baby to be delivered. C-sections can be performed under a general anesthetic (an-us-thet-ic) or a spinal anesthetic, also known as an epidural.
Recovery from a C-section takes longer than it would from a vaginal birth. The procedure has the same risks of a major operation. A woman is usually able to go home from the hospital within 3 to 4 days.
According to the American Medical Association, the number of Cesarean births has been increasing in recent years. One of the reasons for this trend is the increase in the number of women having their first child later in life when the risks are greater to the woman and fetus. Also, many obstetricians believe that a C-section is the safest way to deliver a breech baby. Other reasons for a C-section include if the baby's head is too large to pass through the maternal pelvis or if the pelvis is too small to accommodate an average size head.
With the use of an epidural during Cesarean delivery, a woman can be fully awake and aware of her baby's birth, and the husband or support partner can be present for the birth.
For additional information, please visit The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.