When should a cesarean delivery (C-section) be avoided?

Updated: Dec 14, 2018
  • Author: Hedwige Saint Louis, MD, MPH, FACOG; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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There are few contraindications to performing a cesarean delivery. If the fetus is alive and of viable gestational age, then cesarean delivery can be performed in the appropriate setting.

In some instances, a cesarean delivery should be avoided. Rarely, maternal status may be compromised (eg, with severe pulmonary disease) to such an extent that an operation may jeopardize maternal survival. In such difficult situations, a care plan outlining when and if to intervene should be made with the family in the setting of a multidisciplinary meeting.

A cesarean delivery may not be recommended if the fetus has a known karyotypic abnormality or known congenital anomaly that may lead to death (anencephaly). However, the physician and the patient must actively discuss all the options prior to making that decision.

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