Why would you need a scheduled cesarean section?

Reasons for Cesarean Section

Pregnant Hispanic woman reading book
JGI/Tom Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

About one third of all babies in the United States are born by cesarean section, also known as c-section. That is a lot of babies being born surgically. The risks to mother and baby can be greater with a cesarean, which has lead a lot of major medical organizations like the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to say that we need to do what we can to safely reduce the number of first cesareans.

So why would you need a scheduled cesarean section? What are the most common reasons for this to be decided even before labor begins?

Reasons for Cesarean Section Scheduling

There are different reasons that you may have a scheduled cesarean section prior to labor or at the beginning of labor. Most of these reasons have to do with the safety of the mother and/or the baby. These include, but are not limited to:

Placenta Previa

This is where the placenta is near of covering the cervix. This blocks the pathway for a vaginal birth or would present a bleeding risk during labor.

Certain Fetal Positions

Your baby's position in the uterus may mean that a vaginal birth is not possible, nor safe for them to be born. This can include: Transverse Lie, some Breeches, etc. Your doctor or midwife can talk to you about ways to encourage baby into a better position, but this is not always possible, nor successful.

Higher Order Multiples

With every baby that you have in the uterus the risk of a cesarean birth increases. While there are births of twins and triplets vaginally, the more babies, the less likely a vaginal birth will be possible. This is many times due to odd positions in the uterus.

Active Maternal Herpes

If you have herpes and you have an active lesion on your genitals, you may be encouraged to have a cesarean rather than delivery vaginally.

This is to prevent transmission to your baby.

Other Reasons for a Scheduled C-section

These reasons are certainly not the only reasons to have a cesarean birth scheduled prior to labor. There are a multitude of reasons why a cesarean may be the best choice for you. A few other reasons that may mean a c-section is the safest route of birth can include:

  • Previous invasive uterine surgery, including a previous classical cesarean incision
  • Certain Fetal Conditions
  • Diseases that may make vaginal birth difficult like pulmonary or coronary disease of the mother
  • HIV positive with a high viral load at time of birth

When a scheduled cesarean is discussed, be sure to ask questions about the procedure, including why, what the benefits are, what the risks are and what alternatives there are for you and your family. You should also be sure to talk to your practitioner and explain how you feel about this decision. If this is something that you had really hoped to avoid, it can take a bit of time to emotionally adjust to the news.

This doesn't mean that you are selfish or wrong, it's simply an adjustment period after a hard decision.

 

Sources:

Safe prevention of the primary cesarean delivery. Obstetric Care Consensus No. 1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2014;123:693–711.

Continue Reading