4 July 2012

Caesarean Sections. Part 1

Posted by Jody under: Women's Health .

By Dr. Joshua A. Copel
In the United States today, a woman who is pregnant with her first child has a 1 in 5 chance of delivering the baby by Caesarean section. If you’ve already delivered a baby vaginally, your chances are much greater of another vaginal birth. Only about 1 in 20 or 30 women will need a Caesarean section if they’ve delivered vaginally before.

In a Cesarean, the mother may receive general anesthesia or epidural anesthesia. The doctor will make an incision in the skin then another in the uterus and gently lift out the baby. The whole thing usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

What’s the most common reason for a Caesarean section? The labor is just not progressing to the doctor’s satisfaction. If you have a slow labor, your doctor will probably try to get the contractions moving along by giving you oxytocin, a drug that causes contractions and can be given intravenously so the amount you receive can be adjusted to your body’s needs. If the contractions become strong enough, but your cervix doesn’t fully dilate, the doctor may recommend a Caesarean section.

Or, you may have strong contractions, but your cervix only dilates part way, then stops. Even if you’re fully dilated and have strong contractions, the baby’s head may not be able to descend into the birth canal. In both cases, you need to deliver by Cesarean.

If the baby doesn’t appear to fit, it’s important for the doctor or midwife to be patient and allow the baby to come in his own time, if his heart rate is normal.

Your contractions and the baby’s heart rate will be monitored during labor. It is common for the heart rate to go up and down during the stress of labor. Most drops in heart rate are not a sign of danger for the baby, and the doctor or midwife must use wisdom and judgment to know whether a Caesarean section is needed.

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