Despite the advances in modern medical technology, pregnancy can bring about a number of fears. Delivery in particular can freak out a mom-to-be because, no matter how you do it, it's still kind of scary. Many moms often wonder about C-sections because they're a major abdominal surgery that are more expensive and have a longer recovery time than vaginal births. So how do you know if you'll have one or not? Turns out, there are ways to know if you'll have to have a C-section ahead of time to help you physically and emotionally prepare for your delivery.
But first, a little more about the process. According to Web MD, a C-section is a surgery that pulls your baby directly out of your belly after an incision is made in your abdomen and your uterus while you're under anesthesia. It's important to note that in the past 40 years, the rate of cesarean deliveries has jumped from one out of 20 births, to about one out of three births. Some experts are indeed worried that C-sections are being done more often than they're medically needed.
There are, however, situations that do require a C-section delivery and some women are able to know ahead of time if they'll need one or not depending on certain medical factors during pregnancy. Here are nine ways to know whether or not you'll likely have a C-section.
1You've Had One Before
Some women who've previously had C-sections can have a vaginal birth the next time around if they choose to and if their doctor says it's safe. But 80 percent of scheduled cesareans are repeats, according to Parents. Generally, once you've had one C-section you're always offered another one.
2Your Baby Is In The Breech Position
Breech babies can always turn head down in time for labor, but some do not. If it's getting down to the wire, there are several manual techniques you and your healthcare provider can try to turn your breech baby, including the Webster Technique, External Cephalic Version, pelvic tilt exercises, heat, and ice, according to Very Well. If nothing works a C-section will be the safest delivery option for your baby.
3You Have Placenta Previa Or Placental Abruption
If you have any issues with your placenta, you may be looking at a C-section down the road. According to the March of Dimes website, placental problems can cause dangerous bleeding during a vaginal birth. Two such conditions that could warrant a C-section are placenta previa and placenta abruption. According to What To Expect, placenta previa is when the placenta implants low in the uterus and covers part or all of the cervix. Depending on the type of previa a woman has, she may be able to deliver vaginally, however 75 percent of women with the condition deliver via C-section.
Placenta abruption is when the placenta detatches partially or fully from the uterine wall, according to the Mayo Clinic. It's a dangerous condition that causes heavy bleeding for the mom and deprives the baby of nutrients and oxygen. It's pretty rare, but very dire and requires treatment immediately.
4You're Having Multiples
According to Parents, a vaginal birth with twins is possible, but most are delivered by C-section. Triplets and larger are always born via C-section.
5You Have An Infection
If you have an infection such as HIV or genital herpes you will likely have a C-section. According to the AIDSmap website, women with HIV can have healthy pregnancies and babies. Some women are able to deliver vaginally depending on their viral load count at 36 weeks. As explained on the website, babies with infected mothers may come in contact with the virus via blood or other fluids during birth, but a cesarean can reduce this risk. A C-section for mothers with genital herpes also reduces the risk of passing the infection.
6You Have A Chronic Health Condition
Not all chronic health conditions will lead you to have a C-section, but some do require you to have one. According to the aforementioned March of Dimes website, mothers with diabetes or high blood pressure may be advised to have a C-section to reduce the risk of complications during delivery.
7Your Baby Is Large
If you're told your baby is large, you may be more likely to ask for a C-section because you'll feel less confident in your abilities to push it out.
In 2015, about 31 percent of women were told by their maternity care provider that their baby was "quite large," According to research published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal . The problem: only 9 percent of these women actually delivered babies that met the medical definition of large (8 pounds 13 ounces) proving that ultrasounds aren't totally accurate in determining weight. Additionally, the research showed that these women who were told they were having big babies were five times more likely to ask for a C-section. Unfortunately, it seems some of these C-sections may have been unnecessary.
8Your Baby Has Birth Defects
According to Kids Health, babies who are found to have certain birth defects in the womb may require a C-section delivery. There could be issues with how their body parts formed or organs developed. There could be problems with them ingesting nutrients. Your doctor will be able to provide you the best plan for delivery.
9Some C-Sections Are Emergencies
Sometimes you plan for a vaginal birth, abut a complication arises in which you have to have a C-section. I was induced with plans to deliver my first baby vaginally, but when doctors found that she was in fetal distress I had to have a C-section immediately.
The best thing to do as you prepare to give birth is gather as much information as you can about your health, your baby's health, and your doctor's recommendations. Read as much as you can and present any and all concerns to your medical provider. Having a plan is great, but so is being flexible in the event that a change needs to be made to your plan.