Caesarean Sections – What Are They, And When Might You Need One?

3 Min Read

Photo of a pregnant woman with hands resting on her baby bumpA Caesarean-Section (C-section) is a method of delivering a baby that avoids them having to travel down the birth canal and out of the vagina. As it is classed as a ‘medical’ intervention, it is performed in an operating theatre. A surgical cut is made into the abdomen and womb in order to deliver the baby. It offers a high degree of control to the obstetric surgeon in managing the delivery.

When is a C-Section Needed?

There are certain situations – advised by your doctors – when a C-section will often be necessary. These include having a larger than average baby (for instance if you have a pregnancy induced diabetes), or having a history of previous complications in giving birth. C-sections in this instance are usually known as ‘planned’ and are organised prior to delivery.

An ’emergency’ C-section occurs if medics consider that either you or your baby are in danger of suffering an injury during birth and that prompt delivery should be expedited.

Choosing to Have a C-Section

It is a mother’s choice to decide which method of childbirth they would prefer. Whilst there is no legal ‘right’ (so to speak) to have a C-section, NICE guidelines state that clinicians should ‘always give you an option’ to deliver your baby via a Caesarean section if you wish to do so – even in the absence of any medical reasons.

Under the guidelines, women requesting a C-section where there is no medical necessity “should be offered appropriate discussion and support – but ultimately, if they are making an informed choice, a Caesarean should be offered”.

Research performed by the Birthrights Charity has discovered that many women in England are not being given the option to choose a C-section. Hospitals in the South West have scored lower than average when it comes to offering the ‘option’ of a C-section. Whilst there may be genuine reasons for the lower than average score, it highlights the issues faced by mothers who might want a C-section in the first instance.

Some Trusts are better than other at offering you the choice to have a C-section – or at least engaging with you about the benefits and risks involved. You should always ask your midwife or consultant if you have any concerns about your birth plan or wish to discuss the option of having a C-section.

What to Do If You, Or Your Baby, Have Been Injured?

Failing to perform a caesarean when one is required can have devastating results for mum or baby.

If you think that you, or your baby, have been injured because a C-section wasn’t carried out, or alternatively if you have concerns that you or your baby have been injured as a result of a C-section, get in touch with our birth injury solicitors today.