A Caesarean Section is an operation to deliver your baby through your tummy (abdomen) instead of going through the birth canal. It usually involves making an incision through your bikini line. In rare circumstances, a midline incision can be made underneath your belly button for the operation due to various reasons. Around 20% of babies were born by Caesarean Section.
Caesarean birth has been recorded since ancient times in both Western and non-Western world. It is believed that Julius Caesar was born via this procedure and hence this procedure was named Caesarean Section.
There are two kinds of Caesarean operation, namely elective or emergency.
- An elective Caesarean is one that is planned by the woman and her Obstetrician before labour begins.
- An emergency Caesarean is where the decision is made (usually when you are already in labour) to carry out a Caesarean because an unexpected problem has arisen and the baby needs to be born quickly.
There are many possible reasons an elective Caesarean may be recommended which include:
- When the baby is not in the head down position, for example if it is breech (bottom first) or lying in a transverse position (transverse lie)
- Sometimes if you have twins or triplets
- If the placenta is low (placenta praevia) which makes normal delivery impossible and dangerous
- When the doctor feel that your pelvis is too small to allow the baby to delivery normally (cephalo-pelvic disproportion). This can be due to the size of the baby or the shape of your pelvis
- The baby is deemed too unwell to go through a normal birth (e.g. growth restricted baby)
- Severe maternal medical problems
- If you had two or more previous Caesarean Section
An emergency Caesarean section may be necessary if:
- The progress of labour is too slow or the neck of the womb (the cervical os) does not open up
- The baby becomes too unwell or distressed during labour and waiting for the birth canal to open for a vaginal birth is too dangerous
- The baby is found to be in a position that would make vaginal birth difficult (e.g. baby is facing upward)
- The mother has unexpected blood loss affecting her or the baby