C Section

Overview

Definition

A cesarean birth (C-section) is the delivery of a baby through an incision in the mother's abdomen. In the United States, some estimates suggest almost half of all births are delivered by C-section.

Cesarean Delivery
Cesarean Delivery
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Possible Complications

Cesarean birth is a surgery. There are some risks involved. The estimated risk of a woman dying after a cesarean birth is extremely small. The risk of death after a vaginal birth is even smaller. Your doctor will review potential problems like:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Decreased bowel function
  • Damage to other organs in the abdomen
  • Longer hospital stay and recovery time
  • Allergic reactions to anesthesia
  • Risk of additional surgeries, including hysterectomy , bladder repair, or repeat C-sections with future pregnancies

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Prior cesarean birth
  • Prior surgery of the uterus
  • Abnormal placenta
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

C-sections also have risks for babies. The risk of death for premature babies delivered by elective C-section is very small. The risk of death for premature babies born vaginally is even smaller.

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Treatments

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (C-Section)

Click here to view an animated version of this procedure.

RESOURCES

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org 

American Pregnancy Association http://www.americanpregnancy.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca 

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org 

References

Cesarean birth. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq006.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130719T1543190286. Published May 2015. Accessed March 14, 2015.

Cesarean procedure. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/cesarean-procedure. Updated August 2015. Accessed March 14, 2016.

Cesarean section. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116315/Cesarean-section . Updated September 27, 2016. Accessed October 10, 2016.

Quinlan J. Cesarian Delivery: counceling issues and complication management; Am Fam Physician. 2015 Feb1;91 (3):178-184

7/21/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116315/Cesarean-section : De Luca R, Boulvain M, et al. Incidence of early neonatal mortality and morbidity after late-preterm and term cesarean delivery. Pediatrics. 2009;123:e1064-1071.

10/23/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116315/Cesarean-section : Abd-El-Maeboud KH, Ibrahim MI, et al. Gum chewing stimulates early return of bowel motility after caesarean section. BJOG. 2009;116:1334-1339.

12/4/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116315/Cesarean-section  : Marín Gabriel M, Llana Martín I, et al. Randomized controlled trial of early skin-to-skin contact: Effects on the mother and the newborn. Acta Paediatr. 2010;99(11):1630-1634.

6/2/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116315/Cesarean-section : Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.

3/11/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116315/Cesarean-section : Girsen AI, Osmundson SS, et al. Body mass index and operative times at cesarean delivery. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;124(4):684-689.