A lot of women, upon finding out they’re pregnant, start planning ahead to their labor and delivery. It’s only natural to want to figure out the hows and whys of such a huge life event! The tricky thing about labor and delivery, however, is that it’s pretty unpredictable. You can plan and plan all you want, but when the big day comes, things take on a life of their own. But, the good news is, there are things you can look for that may help you determine if you’re more likely to have a c-section. Some of these c-section signs are out of your control (but better to be prepared than not!). Others have to do with the doctor and hospital or center you choose for your delivery. You can’t foresee the future, sure. But you can be prepared for any and all situations that may come your way.
C-section signs that are largely out of your control have to do with your health and the health of your baby. For example, certain pregnancy complications increase your chances of having a c-section.
During your pregnancy, complications can arise that will definitely increase your chances of having a c-section. These include problems with the placenta, like placenta previa (when your uterus lays too low and blocks the cervix). Placenta previa makes a vaginal delivery nearly impossible and very dangerous. If you have an infection like HIV or herpes, your doctor may encourage a c-section early on in your pregnancy, as these infections can be transmitted during a vaginal delivery. Also, if you’re pregnant with multiples, your doctor will probably recommend a c-section, for your safety and the safety of the babies.
Complications that arise during labor and delivery.
You made it to the big day! Your water broke, you’re on your way to the hospital, everything is falling into place. Except … it might not. Even women who have perfectly normal pregnancies can experience complications during labor and delivery that make their birth plan obsolete. If you get to the hospital and discover that your baby is breech, there’s a good chance you’ll be having a c-section (unless they flip back, which does happen!). Or, during labor, your umbilical cord can slip into the birth canal and get compressed during delivery. Umbilical cord prolapse may result in a c-section if the baby starts showing signs of distress during labor.
Sometimes, labor gets going and then just slows down or stops completely. Once your water has broken, most doctors will insist on delivery within 24 hours. Which is a big window of time! But if labor has slowed or stopped completely, even with medical intervention, a c-section may be the next step. The doctor’s main concern will be the health of the baby and mother, and if either one start exhibiting signs of distress (decreased oxygen or heart rate, for example), they may insist that it’s time to head to the OR.