Cesarean section (C-section)

A Cesarean section (C-section) is surgery to deliver a baby. The baby is taken out through the mother's abdomen.

In the United States, almost one in three women has their babies this way. Some C-sections are planned, but many are done when unexpected plans happen during delivery. Reasons for a C-section may include the following: 

  • Health problems in the mother
  • The mother carrying more than one baby
  • The size or position of the baby
  • The baby's health is in danger
  • Labor is not moving along as it should

The surgery is relatively safe for mother and baby. Still, it is major surgery and carries risks. It also takes longer to recover from a C-section than from vaginal birth. It can raise the risk of having difficulties with future pregnancies. Some women may have problems attempting a vaginal birth later. Still, many women are able to have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).