If there’s one thing consistent about pregnancy, it’s that you can always expect the unexpected. With factors like age, health history, genetics, and external environment, the progression of an individual pregnancy will be different every time for every woman. Regardless of how you want to deliver your baby, these factors will ultimately decide which way your delivery goes. Ideally, you may want to have a vaginal birth, but why would you need a C-section? Turns out, there are a few reasons why.
While the thought of a C-section may cause some anxiety, it’s important to know that C-sections have become much less invasive in recent years. Most C-sections are now done with a “bikini cut," explained What To Expect, which is a horizontal incision along the lowest part of your uterus. Because this area of the skin is thinner, the article noted, it allows for minimal bleeding and a quicker recovery time than that of the classical vertical incision, which is very rarely used.
OB-GYN Dr. Eva Martin of Elm Tree Medical tells Romper that depending on your hospital, you can even request a gentle C-section, in which your room, temperature, and environment of delivery is as close to a vaginal birth as possible. So, instead of a daunting, cold operating room, you can deliver in a cozier, mom-friendly environment.
As hard is it may be, it’s best to keep yourself mentally prepared and knowledgeable about all aspects of your pregnancy and what your delivery options might be. If you have any of these nine conditions, however, you should keep the option of a C-section open for your delivery.
1. You’ve Had A C-Section Before
Previous deliveries can play a huge part in how you’ll deliver this time around. Dr. Kathryn Wright, OB-GYN at Facey Medical Group, tells Romper that if you have had a previous cesarean, you may have to plan for another cesarean delivery. Due to the risk of uterine rupture from previous incisions, 80 percent of C-sections that are scheduled are repeats, explained Parents, but it will depend on your individual case.
But if your doctor feels it’s possible, depending on the condition and placement of your previous incision scar, you may be able to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). The American Pregnancy Association (APA) noted that 90 percent of women who’ve had a previous C-section may still be able to successfully deliver their baby vaginally. If you’ve delivered via C-section before, it’s important to talk to your doctor about all of your birthing options.
2. You’re Carrying More Than One Baby
Depending on the positioning of the babies and how early you go into labor, Baby Center noted that moms carrying multiples may end up having a C-section. If one of the babies isn’t in the optimal head first position, or if you go into preterm labor, your doctor may want to play it safe with a C-section.
If you are carrying twins, you may still have a perfectly normal vaginal delivery, but if you are carrying more than two babies, you’ll most likely deliver via C-section, noted Parents. It can be harder for doctors to monitor multiple babies during delivery, the article explained, so surgery may be the safest option.
3. You Have Underlying Health Issues
Along with the well being of your baby, your doctor will factor in your health when deciding on a C-section. According to the March of Dimes, if you have a chronic health condition like diabetes, a heart condition, or high blood pressure, or if you have an infection like HIV or genital herpes, your doctor may recommend you deliver via C-section. Vaginally delivering with certain health conditions could be risky, so talk to your doctor about what your delivery options will be.
4. Your Labor Is Stalling
Labor doesn’t always go according to plan, and if your labor stalls or fails to progress, your doctor will likely recommend a C-section, explained Fit Pregnancy. Stalled labor can be a result of a number of factors, the website noted, including early induction (when your body isn’t ready to deliver yet), getting an epidural (which can slow down labor sensations), stress or anxiety during labor, or if your baby isn’t positioned ideally for birth. These conditions won’t be known until you are close to your delivery date or in the process of labor, but you should still be prepared and talk to your doctor about what can go down ahead of time.
5. You Have Complications With Your Placenta
If your placenta isn’t where it should be, you may need to consider the possibility of a C-section. According to the APA, moms who have placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta is malpositioned in the lower part of your uterus and covers the cervix, you will likely be prescribed bed rest during pregnancy and will end up having a C-section delivery.
6. You Have Labor Complications
In some cases, labor can get complicated, causing baby and mom to become distressed. In these instances, explained the March of Dimes, C-sections may be the best option for delivery. The website noted that if your baby is too big for a vaginal delivery, the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby in a dangerous way, if your baby’s heart rate slows down during labor, or if your baby is breech, you may end up having a C-section instead of a vaginal birth.
7. You've Been Dealing With Fibroids
If you have had surgery on your uterus other than a C-section, like a surgery to remove fibroids or tumors, you may need a C-section to avoid the risk of uterine rupture, explained Baby Center. The article also noted that if you have fibroids large enough to become an obstruction during labor, your doctor will probably recommend you have a C-section. If you have a history of fibroids, and are concerned, take some time out at your next prenatal check-up to talk to your doctor about your worries.
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