What is Surgical Delivery?

A cesarean section is a surgical means of delivering a baby, where a doctor cuts an incision through the mother’s lower abdomen and into her uterus to reach the baby. A cesarean section (CS) is an operation to deliver a baby when a vaginal birth is not possible or is not safe for the mother or child. In other words, if a woman is unable to deliver the baby vaginally, the baby is then delivered via cesarean section.

Cesarean sections are performed in an operating room or a designated delivery room. Some cesarean sections are planned and scheduled accordingly, while others may be performed as a result of complications that occur during labor.

When is it Used?
A cesarean section may be performed by choice (elective CS) or in an emergency. An elective CS is done when the birth passage is not adequate or when the baby cannot tolerate a vaginal delivery.
A CS can be performed when the position of the baby in the womb at the time of delivery is not normal. Before delivery, babies should be facing head down but some babies are breech.

Additionally, the baby could develop problems causing its heartbeat to slow down, showing that the baby cannot tolerate further labor. Under these conditions, a CS may be necessary. It could also be done if the cervix, which is the opening of the uterus, does not fully dilate during labor, or the baby is too large for the mother’s birth canal.

Conditions for a Cesarean Section
There may be several reasons for a cesarean, some of which are:

  • The mother had a previous cesarean section (mothers who have had previous cesarean deliveries often choose to have repeat cesareans)
  • There is fetal distress (the baby’s heart rate is too fast or irregular)
  • There is abnormal delivery presentation (i.e., breech, shoulder, face)
  • Labor fails to progress or does not progress normally
  • Placental complications (i.e., placenta previa, in which the placenta blocks the cervix and presents the risk of becoming detached prematurely from the fetus)
  • There are twins or other multiples

The Benefits
Cesarean sections can save the lives of babies and their mothers and prevent complications. Delivering the baby by CS is safer than risking normal vaginal delivery when there is fetal or maternal distress.

Of late, cesarean deliveries are being chosen by many women across the world. There are several reasons for this trend, such as planning the exact time of delivery via a cesarean section. This cuts down the uncertainty that prevails with a vaginal delivery. Prescribed and safe surgical procedures have made it a preferred alternative to normal delivery for many mothers. Approximately one-third of all births in the United States today are via cesarean section.

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