The Cesarean section delivery, or C-section, is an alternative to vaginal birth. While vaginal birth is still the preferred method of delivery, there are times when a surgical method, the C-section, is necessary. There are some cases where a C-section is planned ahead of time due to pregnancy complication or previous history of the mother suggests that a C-section may be the best course of action. In other cases, whether a C-section is necessary may not be known until labor has begun. When a C-section is performed, it is up to the medical staff attending the birth to ensure that the surgery is performed safely and mistakes do not occur.
Two out of every ten births are through C-section. While this method is fairly common, it still carries with it all the risks that are associated with any surgery, including anesthesia problems, infection, and surgical errors. Any mistake could inflict injury on the mother and/or child.
There are cases where it is necessary that a C-section be performed in order to avoid causing or aggravating a possible birth injury. Indications that a C-section may be necessary include:
- Breech presentation and the baby cannot be turned to allow for vaginal delivery
- Changes in fetal heart rate
- Delayed labor
- Low oxygen levels in the fetus (hypoxia)
- Plecenta previa or plecenta abrupt
- Signs of fetal distress
- Stopped labor
- Umbilical cord problems
- Uterine rupture
Should any of the above occur, the staff should know that it may be necessary to perform an immediate, emergency C-section. Doctors, nurses, midwives, and other medical staff should proceed with caution.
While the reason to perform and C-section is to avoid a birth injury, the surgery may in fact cause a birth injury. Delay in performing a C-section for any reason can result in birth injuries, such as:
- Bone fracture
- Cerebral Palsy
- Fetal brain damage
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