A caesarean birth is one in which the baby
is removed through a surgical incision in the motherís abdomen and uterus
rather than emerging vaginally through the birth canal. The procedure
is short, generally being only around 5 minutes from incision to .
This procedure is also referred to as a caesarean
section . This procedure is named after the Roman Emperor, Julius
Caesar, who was also
by this technique. Having had a caesarean does not imply that you will
have to continue to have caesareans in further pregnancies. In fact recent
studies have shown that there was an over 80% success rate for vaginal
births after a caesarean section.
The main reasons for a caesarean section include:
- Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD, meaning
that the head is too large to fit through the pelvis)
- Maternal medical conditions such as an , severe ,
(cf. ). However, such disorders do not always
mean a caesarean will need to be performed.
- Foetal distress . However, recent studies
seem to indicate that continuous increases the caesarean rate and does not show
a relative increase in better outcomes
Caesarean birth is major surgery, and, as with other surgical procedures,
risks are involved. The estimated risk of a woman dying after a caesarean
birth is less than one in 2,500 compared to less than one in 10,000 for
vaginal birth. Other risks include:
- Infection of the uterus, bladder or kidneys.
- Increased blood loss . Blood loss on the
average is about twice as much with caesarean birth as with vaginal
birth. However, blood transfusions are rarely needed during a caesarean
- Decreased bowel function . The bowel sometimes
slows down for several days after surgery, resulting in distension,
bloating and discomfort.
- Respiratory complications . General anaesthesia
can sometimes lead to pneumonia.
- Longer hospital stay and recovery time .
Three to five days in the hospital is the common length of stay, whereas
it is less than one to three days for a vaginal birth.
- Reactions to .
The mother's health could be endangered by unexpected responses (such
as blood pressure that drops quickly) to anaesthesia or other medications
during the surgery.
- Risk of additional surgeries . For example,
hysterectomy, bladder repair, etc.
If the due date was not accurately calculated, the baby could be delivered
- Breathing problems . Babies born by caesarean
are more likely to develop breathing problems such as .
scores . Babies born by caesarean sometimes have low Apgar scores.
The low score can be an effect of the anaesthesia and caesarean birth,
or the baby may have been in distress to begin with. Or perhaps the
baby was not stimulated as he or she would have been by vaginal birth.
- Foetal injury . Although rare, the surgeon
can accidentally nick the baby while making the uterine incision.
For further, more detailed information on this topic,
please refer to the reference source for this page.
The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken
from the following source(s):
Child Development , 6th Edition (1994), J. W. Santrock, Wm. C. Brown
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