Skip to Content
Home > Your Health > Health and Wellness Library > Childbirth: Reasons for Cesarean Delivery
View Additional Section Content
A baby can be born in one of two ways. A vaginal birth is one in
which the baby is delivered through the mother's birth canal (vagina). A
cesarean birth (C-section) is one in which the baby is delivered through an
incision in the mother's lower abdomen and uterus. A cesarean birth is a
surgical procedure done with
anesthesia. It can take 4 to 6 weeks to recover
completely from the surgery. But most mothers are up and able to care for
their infants in 3 to 4 days.
A C-section may be done when a quick delivery is needed for the
safety of the mother or baby. Some cesareans are done after labor has
slowed or stopped and a manual exam shows that the fetal head is not engaging
in the pelvis. This sometimes happens when the fetal head is larger than the
mother's pelvic girdle (cephalopelvic disproportion).
Some conditions or problems that may require a cesarean birth can be
identified before labor begins. These conditions include the following:
Many cesarean births are done on an emergency basis when maternal or
fetal problems or complications develop during labor. Such situations
In the past, a woman who had one cesarean birth then had to have all
of her other babies delivered by cesarean also. This is no longer the case.
Depending on the reason for the original cesarean and the type of incision that
was made, a woman may be able to deliver her next baby vaginally. For more
information, see the topic Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2000, reaffirmed 2013). Fetal macrosomia. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 22. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 96(5): 1–11.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 30, 2016
Current as of:
May 30, 2016
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Communicate with your medical team, request medication refills and manage appointments through MUHealthe. Learn More
Schedule an appointment today with an MU Health Care provider.
Our support team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 877-621-8014.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Copyright ©2016 — Curators of the University of Missouri. All rights reserved. DMCA and other copyright information.
Equal Opportunity/Access/Affirmative Action/Pro Disabled & Veteran Employer. For website information contact the Office of Communications. Disclaimer