A Cesarean section (C-section) is surgery to deliver a baby. The baby is taken out through the mother's abdomen. In the United States, almost one in three women has their babies this way. Some C-sections are planned, but many are done when unexpected problems happen during delivery. Reasons for a C-section may include
- Health problems in the mother
- The mother carrying more than one baby
- The size or position of the baby
- The baby's health is in danger
- Labor is not moving along as it should
The surgery is relatively safe for mother and baby. Still, it is major surgery and carries risks. It also takes longer to recover from a C-section than from vaginal birth. It can raise the risk of having difficulties with future pregnancies. Some women may have problems attempting a vaginal birth later. Still, many women are able to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- C-Section Recovery: What to Expect (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Cesarean Sections (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Delivery by Cesarean Section (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Having a C-Section (March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation)
- What Is a Cesarean Delivery? (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish
- Breastfeeding after Cesarean Delivery (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Repeat C-Sections: Is There a Limit? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-Section) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- What is vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)? (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in Spanish
- Why at Least 39 Weeks Is Best for Your Baby? (March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Cesarean Section (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Trends in fertility rates, proportion of antenatal consultations and caesarean sections...
- Article: Influence of social determinants of health on skin to skin contact...
- Article: Association between early pregnant hospitalization and use of obstetric interventions and...
- Cesarean Section -- see more articles