One third of all mums will require one. But is there any way to predict whether you will be in the 32 per cent group of mothers who give birth via caesarean? Here are some things that can make a difference to the way you give birth.
Australia has one of the highest rates of caesarean births in the world with 32 per cent of all births delivered via caesarean section. The c-section rate has nearly doubled since 1991 and private hospitals have a higher rate (43 per cent) compared to public hospitals (30 per cent).
While the only way to know for sure if you will require a c-section is to speak to your doctor, here are a few things that may impact your likelihood.
1. If you are expecting multiples.
While it is possible to have twins or multiples vaginally if both twins are in the right position. If the first baby is in a breech position, or if one twin is lying in a transverse position (with it’s body lying sideways), you will have to have a caesarean section.
2. If you have had a previous cesarean within the last 18 months.
While not always the case, many doctors will recommend a c-section if a mother has already had a baby in the previous 18 months via c-section. The reason is because the incidence of scar rupture is much higher when the gap between the babies is so short.
3. If you are an older mother or carrying extra weight.
Although age isn’t a major factor, Dr Michael Permazel from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, suggests an increase in the age of mothers and an increase in obesity, are both more likely to be associated with caesarean section.
4. If the baby is in breach position.
Breach birth is also completely possible but not very common or supported in Australia. Many doctors will recommend that, if your baby is in the breach position (feet, knees or buttocks first) at 38 or 39 weeks gestation, then a planned c-section is best.
5. If you have a low-lying placenta.
Known as placenta previa, this condition usually resolves itself by full term pregnancy but not always. The problem with a vaginal delivery is that the placenta may cover or partially cover the cervix. A c-section is usually needed as a natural birth can cause severe vaginal bleeding before or during delivery.
6. If you have additional problems with the placenta.
Though extremely rare, sometimes the blood vessels of the placenta grow too deeply into the uterine wall which will require a c-section. Another placental concern that can require emergency c-sections is placental abruption (when the placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery).
7. If you have HIV, hepatitis or herpes.
These sexually transmitted infections can be passed on to bub via vaginal delivery.
8. If there is concern about your health or bub’s health.
It’s always best to veer on the safe side so if something isn’t right and doctors are concerned about your health or bub’s health, then the quickest way to ensure everyone is safe and healthy is an emergency c-section.
9. If your labour is not progressing.
Sometimes bub just doesn’t want to budge, even if you have been induced. If this is the case and bub could be in danger, then a c-section may be the only option.
10. If meconium is present in your waters.
Meconium in the amniotic fluid means that bub has had a bowel movement before or during labour. It can be a sign that bub is possibly in distress or that his gut is mature. As there is no way to tell, many doctors don’t like to take the risk and will opt for a c-section to get bub out sooner rather than later.
11. If you have heavy vaginal bleeding.
Bright red heavy vaginal bleeding during labour can be an indication that something is up with the placenta (see above) and often immediate intervention is required.
For more information about caesarean sections check out our other c-section articles including: