A cesarean section is an operative delivery done by cutting through the mother's abdomen and uterus and delivering the baby through the incision. There are indications for doing a cesarean section before and during labor:

Before Labor

  • If you had a previous cesarean and don’t want to go into labor (repeat cesarean)
  • If you had a previous cesarean with a vertical (up-and-down) incision in the uterus or another surgery cutting into the uterus
  • If you have a placenta previa
  • If the baby is breech or transverse
  • If the baby is too big
  • If the baby shows an abnormal fetal evaluation and/or cannot tolerate labor
  • If you have triplets or more babies
  • If you have a medical condition and can’t tolerate labor
  • Obstruction to the birth canal, such as fibroids or ovarian tumors
  • An infection such as herpes or HIV

During Labor

  • Presumed fetal compromise: If your baby cannot tolerate labor or shows problems (abnormal fetal tracing)
  • If you develop medical or other complications such as abruptio placentae or preeclampsia, and need to be delivered quickly
  • When the baby does not fit through the pelvis (cephalopelvic disproportion=CPD)