Why Do Women Have a Cesarean Section?

Cesarean birth or also known as c-section is a way of delivering a baby through surgery. The doctor will cut a woman’s belly or uterus, which will serve as a passageway for the baby to come out. 

Some women undergo normal vaginal birthing. However, some women need a caesarean birthing because it is safer for them and the baby. C-sections may be planned, and it can also be an emergency. Doctors should perform emergency cesarean sections immediately to avoid putting a woman’s life into danger, and also protecting the baby’s health. Planned c-sections, on the other hand, are made due to several medical reasons. These are the reasons why women have a cesarean section. 

  1. Abnormal positioning of the baby- the baby’s head must position near a woman’s birth canal to have a successful vaginal birth. However, babies can sometimes flip over. Sometimes, babies place their feet or butt near the birth canal- it is called a breech birth. Other times, they put their shoulders or their sides near the birth canal- this one is considered a transverse birth. When these two instances happen, a cesarean section could be the safest way to deliver these babies. 
  2. Prolonged labor- according to studies, this reason caused one-third of cesarean deliveries. There are many reasons for a stalled labor. It may be because the baby is too big for the woman’s birth canal. It can also be due to slow cervical thinning. Another reason is that the mother is carrying multiple babies. You can consider it prolonged labor when the mother is laboring for more than 20 hours (applicable for first-time moms) and more than 14 hours for mothers who tried giving birth before. When the mother has failed to progress, doctors consider a c-section to stay away from further complications. 
  3. Birth defects– if your baby is diagnosed with a birth defect, like congenital heart diseases or fetal hydrocephalus, you will most likely undergo cesarean delivery. It is to help avoid further delivery complications. 
  4. Fetal distress- your baby may undergo fetal distress when he or she is not getting enough oxygen from the inside. When this happens, your doctor may result in an emergency c-section. 
  5. Chronic diseases- moms who live with chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or cancer may choose to deliver through cesarean section. With these conditions, vaginal birthing may be very dangerous to moms. For moms who have transferrable infections like genital herpes, HIV, or other infectious diseases, cesarean delivery may be a better option. 
  6. Cephalopelvic disproportion- this happens when the mom’s pelvis is too small to have a vaginal delivery. It can also be because the baby has a large head that could not fit the mother’s birth canal. Either way, it does not allow the baby to pass through the mother’s vagina safely and successfully. 
  7. Cord prolapse- happens when the baby’s umbilical cord slips through the mom’s cervix before being born. It may interrupt the blood flow to the baby, threatening the baby’s health. A cord prolapse might be a rare but urgent condition that needs an emergency cesarean section. 
  8. Carrying multiple babies- having multiple babies at once can cause different risks during one’s pregnancy. It may be a reason for a stalled or prolonged labor for mothers. There is also a high chance that more than one babies are in an abnormal position. Needless to say, a cesarean section may be the best option to deliver these babies. 
  9. Placenta issues- mothers may need a cesarean delivery when they experience placenta issues. When a low-lying placenta covers half or the whole cervix (placenta previa), the mother may need a c-section. A placenta previa can result in dangerously heavy bleeding during vaginal delivery, so a cesarean section is more advisable. It is also necessary when there is a placenta abruption, wherein the placenta disconnect from the woman’s uterine lining. It will cause the baby to lose his oxygen, so doctors should immediately do an emergency c-section.
  10. Repeat c-section- cesarean delivery may apply to mothers who had cesarean sections on their early birth. However, most women who had c-sections can have vaginal delivery on their next birth. It may also apply to women who recently had surgery on their uterus. 

ear of a baby, baby holding the finger, white baby clothes


A c-section for non-medical reasons may put you and your baby’s health at risk. You may not know when is your exact due date. So there will be a possibility of having your baby not according to your due date. Your baby may be born a week or two early and may encounter health issues at birth and possibly, throughout their life. So it is essential to wait for your pregnancy to reach at least 39 weeks before scheduling a cesarean section.