Everything You Need to Know About C-sections

By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

Many seem to think of vaginal birth when discussing childbirth, but the truth is about a third of births are cesarean sections. The American College of OBGYNs (ACOG) states that in the past few years, c-sections have made up around 32% of all births in the United States (around 1.3 million births). Let’s break down what exactly you need to know about c-sections.

What is a c-section?

ACOG’s definition of a caesarean section is “the delivery of a baby through incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.” Essentially a c-section is a surgery in which the skin of the abdomen and the uterus are cut open in order to remove the baby. This will be done after an epidural block, spinal block, or general anesthesia is given so that the lower half of the body is numbed.

Why do people get c-sections?

While about 32% of births (in recent years) have been via c-section, it’s estimated that only around 2.5% of these are due to maternal request. That means the large majority of c-sections are performed for medical reasons. Some of the most common reasons according to ACOG are:

  • Failure of labor to progress: The cervix is not opening enough for the baby to move into the vagina
  • Concern for the baby: Abnormal heart rate, concerns with the umbilical cord, etc.
  • Multiple pregnancy: The more babies there are in the uterus, the more likely it is for them to be born via c-section, due to abnormal positions, preterm labor, and other factors.
  • and more!

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