When is the decision made to perform a cesarean delivery (C-section)?

Updated: Dec 14, 2018
  • Author: Hedwige Saint Louis, MD, MPH, FACOG; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Many indications exist for performing a cesarean delivery. In those women who are having a scheduled procedure (ie, an elective or indicated repeat, for malpresentation or placental abnormalities), the decision has already been made that the alternate of medical therapy, ie, a vaginal delivery, is least optimal.

For other patients admitted to labor and delivery, the anticipation is for a vaginal delivery. Every patient admitted in this circumstance is admitted with the thought of a successful vaginal delivery. However, if the patient’s situation should change, a cesarean delivery is performed because it is believed that outcome may be better for the fetus, the mother, or both.

A cesarean delivery is performed for maternal indications, fetal indications, or both. The leading indications for cesarean delivery are previous cesarean delivery, breech presentation, dystocia, and fetal distress. These indications are responsible for 85% of all cesarean deliveries. [7]


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