URL of this page: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/cesareansection.html

Cesarean Section

Also called: C-section 

Summary

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, about one in four women have their babies this way. Most C-sections are done when unexpected problems happen during delivery. These include

  • Health problems in the mother
  • The position of the baby
  • Not enough room for the baby to go through the vagina
  • Signs of distress in the baby

C-sections are also more common among women carrying more than one baby.

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. After healing, the incision may leave a weak spot in the wall of the uterus. This could cause problems with an attempted vaginal birth later. However, more than half of women who have a C-section can give vaginal birth later.

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