Most people do not plan on having a C-section, but as you’ve just learned, they may be more common than you had thought!
Twins or triplets or more, puts you at higher risk for a cesarean delivery. The more babies inside your belly, the greater likelihood you qualify for a cesarean. This is because the babies may not be well aligned in the uterus, as well as the mother being more at risk for going into preterm labor. A C-section delivery may put less strain on the pre-term baby’s body. “Multiple pregnancy” accounts for an estimated 7% of C-section deliveries.
Failure of Labor to Progress
This is when the mother’s contractions do not adequately dilate the cervix to allow baby to pass through. A new study has shown that Doctors may need to be a little bit more patient until coming to this conclusion. See section “How long will it take me to dilate from 1cm to 10cm?” for more details. Failure of labor to progress accounts for an estimated 34% of C-section deliveries; this has been the most common reason for C-sections.
We Labor and Delivery nurses are always watching your little one’s heart rate pattern when you are on the monitor. You might even think we are obsessed over it, as we are documenting every 15-30 minutes, interpreting how your little one is doing. This helps us to see if your baby is getting enough oxygen and nutrients at all times. If there is an umbilical cord kink or pinch that does not get resolved with some positional changes and interventions, this may earn an emergency trip to the O.R. Fetal intolerance accounts for an estimated 23% of all C-section deliveries.
By observing your baby’s heart rate patterns, we can see how well the placenta is feeding your baby oxygen. “Placenta Insufficiency” is when the baby is not getting enough oxygen and nutrients from the placenta. Placenta insufficiency may be caused by smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, or if the mother is significantly past her due date. Other major placenta problems include placenta previa (when the placenta blocks the passageway for baby to come out) and placenta abruption (when the placenta comes off of the uterine wall).
A large baby also called macrosomia, may be caused by gestational diabetes or being past due, but sometimes babies are just big! Your Provider may diagnose you with Cephalopelvic Dissproportion (CPD), meaning your baby’s head is too big, or your pelvis is just too small for baby to fit through. I heard a Doctor once liken CPD to a child’s block toy. The Doctor likened the baby’s head to a circle block and the mother’s pelvis like a square opening- not allowing the block to pass through.
A malpresentation is when any any part of babe’s body is presenting other than a vertex presentation (the top of the head coming out first). A malpresentation is estimated to account for 17% of all C-sections.
According to Americanpregnancy.org breech babies occur approximately 1 out of 25 full term births, equaling 4% of babies (American Pregnancy Association, 2014).
Your temperature will be monitored during labor and especially close after your membranes rupture (amniotic fluid bag breaks). If your temperature increases to a fever, your Provider may call it quits on the vaginal route in order to be delivered as soon as possible to prevent further complications. Other infections such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or active Herpes will also warrant a C-section to protect the baby.
Most common conditions include preeclampsia, eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. In these situations, the Physician may decide it safer not to put the woman and baby under the stresses of labor.
Your OBGYN or Family Physician is the best person to help you make the decision if a cesarean delivery is most appropriate for you and your baby or babies.