Home > Childbirth: Is Planning a C-Section a Good Choice?
In the past 40 years, the rate of cesarean (C-section) deliveries has jumped from about 1 out of 20 births to about 1 out of 3 births.footnote 1 This trend has caused experts to worry that C-sections are being done more often than needed.
Because of the risks of C-section, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that planned C-sections generally be done only for medical reasons. It also recommends that if a C-section is planned, it should be done at 39 weeks or later in the pregnancy.
But some women and their partners have personal reasons for wanting to schedule their baby's birth.
If you're thinking of having a C-section for personal reasons, it's important to weigh what you want against the risks. You may want to talk to your doctor about reasons for and against a planned C-section.
A C-section is the delivery of a baby through a cut (incision) in the mother's belly and uterus.
Most C-sections are unplanned. They are done because of problems that occur during labor. These problems might include:
Although most mothers and babies do well after C-section, it is major surgery. It has more risks than a vaginal delivery. The risks of C-section include:
In some cases, a planned C-section may be safer than a vaginal delivery. This may be the case if:
Some women have personal reasons for wanting a C-section.
It's important to talk openly and honestly with your doctor about your wishes and concerns.
In some cases, your doctor may be able to help you feel more confident about vaginal birth. For example, your doctor could discuss the many ways to control pain during labor. Or he or she may explain how often pelvic floor problems happen and what can be done to prevent them. These discussions may change your mind about planning a C-section.
Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Cesarean delivery and peripartum hysterectomy. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 544-564. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMarch 16, 2017
Current as of:
March 16, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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