Cesarean Sections

Find out everything you need to know about cesarean deliveries, from why you might need to plan a C-section in advance to how the operation is performed.

Planned cesarean delivery

One in four deliveries in the United States is a cesarean delivery (also called a "C-section"), which is the birth of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother's lower abdominal wall and uterus rather than through the vagina. Doctors usually turn to cesarean delivery after labor has begun either because of an unexpected complication or because labor is failing to progress.

Sometimes, however, cesarean deliveries are planned in advance because of certain complications, including the following:

Placenta previa. If the placenta is positioned abnormally low within the uterus, there is a chance that the placenta will block the cervix. This could prevent the baby from advancing through the birth canal and could cause severe bleeding or hemorrhaging in the mother.

Size. If the baby is very large, a cesarean can sometimes be the safest way to deliver.

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