C-section: When It’s Needed & Possible Complications

A Cesarean birth is a major medical procedure performed on a pregnant woman who cannot give birth vaginally. It means the baby will be delivered by surgery, via an incision across the belly and uterus, rather than vaginally.

When a C-section May Be Necessary

C-sections are done because of pregnancy complications or because of complications during labor and delivery. The March of Dimes outlines several scenarios during pregnancy, labor and delivery that may require a C-section.

For example, doctors may recommend C-section if the mother has an infection like HIV, or if the mother is having twins, triplets or other multiple births. Some women may be advised against natural birth if they have health conditions like high blood pressure or if they have previously undergone a C-section or other uterine procedures.

It further outlines labor and delivery complications that may warrant a C-section, such as:

  • The baby suffers a medical emergency;
  • prolapsed umbilical cord, which can affect oxygen supply;
  • fetal oxygen supply is otherwise compromised;
  • a birth defect is present or suspected;
  • baby is breech, meaning the baby is coming out feet first;
  • baby doesn’t fit through the vaginal canal, such as in the case of a large baby, which can lead to shoulder dystocia and related birth trauma; or
  • labor has already lasted for a long time or has stopped. 

An Elective C-Section

An expectant mother can request an elective c-section, meaning one not needed due to a medical reason. Women should discuss this decision thoroughly with their doctor to make the best decision for them and their child.

A C-section qualifies as major surgery and should not be requested lightly. Many times, an expectant mother fears having a vaginal birth due to fears of pain, tearing and being unable to endure labor. Talking to a doctor, midwife and/or a labor coach can help women learn more about these issues.

Some older expectant mothers feel that they must get a C-section because their age will complicate labor, but this is not always the case. Again, an open discussion can help ease these fears.

Complications from a C-Section

The Mayo Clinic outlines certain C-section-related complications that women may experience, such as:

  • anesthesia side effects such as nausea, vomiting and severe headache;
  • baby suffers breathing issues;
  • infection at incision site;
  • formation of blood clots in the mother’s legs;
  • heavy blood loss;
  • physical injury to the mother or baby. 

Thus, women should thoroughly discuss these and other possible complications with their doctors to help them determine if the procedure is the best choice for them.

When You or Your Baby Suffer an Injury

Failure to perform a necessary emergency C-section or a C-section that is performed negligently may lead to a birth injury. The mother could be injured as well.

If you find yourself in this situation, Chalik & Chalik can provide a free consultation regarding the possible damages you may be able to recover. All you need to do is call 855-971-1701 to set up a consultation.