Information for Patients
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
Twins, Triplets, Multiple Births
If you are pregnant with more than one baby, you are far from alone. Multiple births are up in the United States. More women are having babies after age 30 and more are taking fertility drugs. Both boost the chance of carrying more than one baby. A family history of twins also makes multiples more likely.
Years ago, most twins came as a surprise. Now, most women know about a multiple pregnancy early. Women with multiple pregnancies should see their health care providers more often than women who are expecting one baby. Multiple pregnancy babies have a much higher risk of being born prematurely and having a low birth weight. There is also more of a risk of disabilities. Some women have to go on bed rest to delay labor. Finally, they may deliver by C-section, especially if there are three babies or more.
Parenting multiples can be a challenge. Volunteer help and support groups for parents of multiples can help.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health