Cesarean Section (C-Secion) Delivery for Boston MA Area Women

Many patients of Brigham-Faulkner Ob/Gyn are familiar with the term C-section, meaning cesarean section delivery of a baby. This surgical procedure is incredibly common, and is often used if there are complications that arise during the child’s birth. 

In recent years the rates for C-section deliveries have been steadily decreasing, though it is still an exceptional method for physicians to utilize when preserving the safety of both the mother and her child during delivery.

Situations That May Require C-Section Delivery

Some expectant mothers will plan for a C-section delivery, but the procedure may also be administered suddenly if the health of the mother and/or baby become compromised. A few common scenarios that can lead your attending obstetrician to perform a cesarean section delivery include if:

  • There are multiple babies: There is not often enough room for twins, triplets, or other multiples to exit the womb.
  • The baby is in distress: If the infant’s heart rate begins rising and the physician is unable to calm the child down, it is best to remove the baby from the womb as soon as possible.
  • There is a known risk to having a natural delivery: Certain conditions of the mother and/or baby may make a C-section the safest option for delivery. This can include situations such as the mother having a heart problem, or the baby having a birth defect like hydrocephalus.
  • The mother underwent prior uterine surgery: Women who have had a C-section before, or those that sustained significant damage to the uterus during a particular procedure are much more likely to suffer serious complications during vaginal delivery than during cesarean delivery.
  • The baby is incorrectly positioned: If the child is coming out feet-first, or has moved sideways (transverse) within the womb, they may require a cesarean delivery unless they can be turned in time to be delivered naturally.
  • There are problems with the placenta: It is possible for the placenta to block the birth canal, or for it to detach from the uterine wall entirely. Both of these situations pose significant risk to mother and child, making cesarean delivery a safe and necessary option.
  • Labor is not progressing: Many C-sections are the result of a stalled labor wherein the mother’s cervix is unable to fully dilate to deliver naturally. This option is typically considered after the mother has been experiencing strong contractions in labor for several hours at a time.

About the Procedure

Once the doctor has decided to utilize the cesarean delivery procedure, they will begin by numbing the mother via intravenous anesthesia. Patients will only have the lower portion of their body numbed, so they will remain fully awake for the duration of the procedure. It is also common for hospital staff to employ the use of a draped screen to block the patient’s vision, which helps to reduce anxiety and perceived pain during delivery. If in the event of an emergency C-section, there may not be adequate time to numb the patient beforehand.

After sterilizing the area, an incision is made on the woman’s lower abdomen. This incision is made to access the uterus, and is most often applied to the lower section of the uterus where the tissue is thinnest. Once the incision is large enough, the doctor is able to suction away the amniotic fluid and retrieve the newborn baby.

Why Many Avoid C-Section Deliveries

While cesarean delivery methods are often utilized to protect the safety of the mother and child, they are associated with increased risks of complications during follow-up care. For this reason, the doctor will not advise a patient for a C-section delivery unless it is truly necessary or desired by the patient herself. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) also recommends that a C-section not be performed unless it is medically required.

Risks to the Baby

The risks that cesarean delivery pose to the child are very low. Babies born via C-section may experience problems with quickened breathing in the first few days after birth, or they may also suffer accidental surgical injury during the delivery process such as a small knick to the skin from the physician’s scalpel. Both of these situations are unlikely to lead to future, long-term harm to the child’s health or well-being.

Risks to the Mother

The mother, on the other hand, is susceptible to many more noteworthy risks, including:

  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • The formation of blood clots
  • Surgical injury
  • Heightened risk for future pregnancies

Follow-Up Care

Women who experience abnormal and painful symptoms following their C-section delivery should contact Brigham-Faulkner Ob/Gyn right away to properly diagnose their condition. All patients will be discharged from our facility with a clear set of instructions on postpartum care and recovery. It is especially important that new mothers do not overexert themselves during this recovery period, as this can quickly lead to serious health issues following delivery.