A cesarean section (C-section) is a medical procedure performed to remove the baby from a woman. The skin, abdominal wall, and uterus are cut open for the removal of the baby, as opposed to it being born through the cervix and vagina. Sometimes C-sections are performed electively, such as in the case of a woman having a previous C-section birth and deciding not to deliver vaginally with subsequent pregnancies. At other times, C-sections are performed in emergency or critical situations, such as when the baby is not receiving enough oxygen, there is immediate danger to the mother, baby, or both.
The following are brief descriptions of situations in which C-sections are likely to be performed:
- Active Genital Herpes -- C-sections in this situation prevent the baby from being exposed to and possibly contracting the herpes virus.
- Breech Presentation -- A baby in the breech position, rather than in the typical and preferred head-first position is much harder to deliver vaginally. Often with this presentation, cord prolapse (more on this below) can be a problem.
- Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD) -- In this situation, either the baby's head is too large for a traditional vaginal birth, or the mother's pelvis is too small to accommodate the baby's passage.
- Cord prolapse -- This occurs when the umbilical cord enters the cervix and vagina before the baby. this is a dangerous situation for the baby because labor contractions can squeeze the cord to the point of depriving the baby of oxygen.
- Diabetes -- Whether type I, II, or gestational diabetes, this disease increases the chance of having a C-section. Diabetes can result in increased blood pressure leading to preeclampsia or eclampsia. Eclampsia can only be reversed by the delivery of the baby (more on eclampsia below).
- Preeclampsia and Eclampsia -- These are the terms given for gestational hypertension or high blood pressure. Blood flow from the mother through the placenta and umbilical cord to the baby can be impaired or insufficient if the mother has high blood pressure, depriving the baby of oxygen, nutrients, and also the carrying away of waste products.
- Long or Stalled Labor -- If labor has slowed considerably or stopped altogether, then a C-section may be done to deliver the baby.
- Multiples -- In the case of more than one baby being delivered, C-sections may be necessary and/or scheduled.
- Pitocin -- If the synthetic version of Pitocin (which stimulates labor and increases the force and duration of labor contractions) is given in too great a dosage, this could result in fetal distress (decreased oxygen to the baby often) and the need for a C-section.
- Placenta Previa -- The placement of the placenta covers part or all of the opening to the cervix and vagina.
- Placenta Abruption -- When the placenta separates from the uterine wall too soon. the placenta normally does not separate from the uterine wall until after the baby is born.
- Uterine rupture -- This is a tearing of the uterus during pregnancy or labor. It can happen to approximately 1 in 1,500 women, with slightly higher occurrences in women who have previously had C-sections.
If you believe you or a loved one suffered harm due to a C-section error made by an obstetrician, you may be eligible for damages. Contact the experts at the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts to see if you have a medical provider malpractice case. If we decide to take your case, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds for you.