Having your baby by c-section
A cesarean section (also called c-section) is surgery in which your baby is born through a cut that your doctor makes in your belly and womb (uterus).
For some women and babies, a c-section is safer than vaginal birth. You and your provider may plan for a c-section. Or you may need to have an emergency (unplanned) c-section because of a problem that happens during pregnancy or labor.
If you’re planning to schedule your c-section, wait until at least 39 weeks. This gives your baby the time he needs in the womb to grow and develop.
Most women and babies recover well from c-sections. But keep in mind that it’s a major surgery that has risks. It takes about 4 to 6 weeks for mom to fully recover from a c-section. Recovery from a vaginal birth is shorter. Also, the hospital stay for a vaginal birth is 2 days. But with a c-section, you’ll probably stay 3 to 4 days in the hospital.
A c-section may affect the health of your future pregnancies, too. There’s a greater risk of pregnancy complications with every c-section you have. If you’ve already had a c-section and are pregnant again, talk to your provider about having a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC). For many women, a VBAC can be a healthy, safe choice for birth.
See also: C-section by request
Medical reasons for a c-section
- Previous c-section
- Large baby
- Baby's position
- Slow labor
- Placental problems
- High blood pressure