A cesarean delivery or cesarean section is the abdominal delivery of a baby, as compared to a vaginal delivery. With a cesarean section, an incision is made through the abdomen and the uterus to extract the baby out. 

Will you need a C-section?

The truth is that the majority of women will be able to deliver a baby vaginally. However, every one in three babies is born via cesarean section in the United States. In addition, despite medical advances, those statistics have remained constant for the last decade.

This number also includes women who repeat cesarean sections, meaning they already had one previous C-section (although many women do have a vaginal birth after cesarean section, also known as VBAC).

Risk factors for cesarean delivery

Cesarean sections are warranted when the health of the baby or mom is at risk. There are certain situations in which this type of delivery is recommended, such as:

  1. Abnormal labor progress
  2. Fetal distress
  3. Breech presentation
  4. Repeat cesarean section
  5. Premature baby
  6. Placenta previa or abruption placenta
  7. High blood pressure
  8. Large baby
  9. Medical complications

While cesarean sections are major surgery and the recovery period is a bit longer than for vaginal births, in most instances, women come through the surgery and recovery well enough to easily care for their baby and themselves. The total recovery period is about six weeks on average but can range from three to twelve weeks depending on mom's health and activity level.

Think you might need a cesarean section or have you been told you will likely have one? See how much you know about cesarean section deliveries with this informative quiz!