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C-Section (Cesarean Section) Delivery

Daisy Rogozinsky
September 5, 2022

Cesarean section is one type of delivery performed when it is impossible or unsafe to deliver vaginally. In this article, we'll define the term “C-section delivery” and explain how it relates to birth injury law. 

Key Takeaways

  • A C-section is a surgical procedure in which a baby is delivered through incisions in the abdomen and uterus 
  • C-sections are common, accounting for 30% of deliveries in the U.S.
  • C-sections may be performed under a number of circumstances including breech presentation, placenta previa, obstruction, and more
  • Risks of C-section include embolism, chronic pelvic pain, infection, and more
  • If a doctor makes a mistake during C-section that leads to birth injury, it may be considered medical malpractice

What Is C-Section (Cesarean Section) Delivery?

A Cesarean section sometimes referred to as a C-section for short, is a surgical procedure in which a baby is delivered through incisions in the abdomen and uterus. They are performed when vaginal delivery is not possible or safe, such as if the health of the birthing parent or baby is at risk. C-sections account for 30% of all deliveries in the United States. 

When Are C-Section Deliveries Necessary? 

A doctor may opt for a C-section if any of the following conditions are met:

  • Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) - When the baby’s head or body is too large to pass safely through the pelvis, or the pelvis is too small to deliver an average-sized baby
  • Obstruction - If vaginal birth would be obstructed due to something like a large uterine fibroid
  • Placenta previa - When the placenta is attached too low in the uterus, blocking the cervix partially or completely
  • Multiples -The birth of two or more babies at the same time might require a C-section
  • Breech presentation or transverse lie - If the baby is positioned to come out feet-first or sideways and the doctors cannot or do not believe it is safe to turn the baby, they may choose to perform a C-section instead
  • Health conditions - Certain health conditions like heart disease or genital herpes may require C-section delivery
  • Previous C-section - It can be unsafe to deliver vaginally after a previous C-section

Unplanned C-sections may also occur as a result of:

  • Umbilical cord prolapse - When the umbilical cord comes out of the cervix before the baby does
  • Fetal distress - If the baby cannot tolerate labor without problems such as irregular heart rate
  • Placental abruption - When the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before the baby is born
  • Prolonged labor - When the cervix does not efface or the baby stops moving down the birth canal
  • Umbilical cord compression - When the umbilical cord is looped around the baby's neck or body or caught between the baby's head and the birthing parent’s pelvis.

Risks of C-Section Deliveries

Just like any other surgery, C-sections come with risks including:

  • Weakening the uterine wall
  • Abnormalities of the placenta in future pregnancies
  • Breathing problems for the baby
  • Infection
  • Risks from general anesthesia
  • Trouble breastfeeding
  • More difficult recovery than that of vaginal delivery
  • Embolism
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Injury to the bowel or bladder
  • The need for future C-sections
  • Hemorrhage
  • Fetal injury

C-Section Delivery and Birth Injury Law

There are a number of mistakes that doctors might make related to C-sections, including:

  • Scheduling a C-section too early before the baby is to term
  • Delaying the decision to perform a C-section long enough for the baby to experience harm from issues such as birth asphyxia or excessive pressure on the head
  • Causing skin lacerations
  • Causing collar bone fractures
  • Causing brachial plexus injuries 
  • Causing skull fractures
  • Causing facial nerve palsy

If you or your baby were hurt as the result of a medical professional’s mistakes with C-section delivery, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. It is recommended that you speak with a birth injury attorney to help you determine whether or not you have a case.

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