Handling the Unexpected
A C-Section Delivery
In the United States, 20 to 30 percent of babies are born by cesarean delivery. In a few cases -- such as for breech babies and multiples -- the procedure is scheduled beforehand. But especially for first-time moms, how your baby is delivered can't be determined until you are actually in labor. We hope that all moms who want a vaginal birth get their wish, but we also recognize that the other player in this game (your baby) may have a different plan. The two most common reasons why an infant is delivered by cesarean are that he doesn't fit through the birth canal or he experiences distress during labor. Whether a baby can navigate through the birth canal is not something doctors can necessarily control or predict. It depends on a number of factors: the baby's size and position, as well as the size of the mom. In the same way, we can't predict how your baby will tolerate labor. When you have a contraction, the blood flow to the placenta decreases dramatically. Because a contraction lasts for only a minute, most babies adapt to this decrease without any problem. However, some babies are not able to keep up with this for hours on end. If your baby begins to experience fetal distress, he will need to be delivered by cesarean.
Many women fear that they might have a bowel movement while they're pushing. Yes, this is possible -- and it's just fine if it happens. From a mom's point of view, it can be embarrassing, but from a doctor's point of view, it's actually a good thing, because it means that she's pushing correctly.