A cesarian section (sometimes abbreviated CS) is an
incision through the wall of the belly and the uterus in
order to extract a baby during delivery. The uterus is a
hollow organ in a female's body where the egg is
implanted and the baby develops during pregnancy.
The incision into the wall of the abdomen may be
horizontal or vertical.
WHY ARE CESARIAN SECTIONS PERFORMED?
C-sections are performed when there is some abnormality in the condition of the
mother and/or fetus, which would make natural delivery dangerous. A fetus is a
developing human that is inside the mother from the end of the 8th week to birth.
Problems with labor (the process of giving birth), such as extended labor time can lead
to a C-section. Other reasons for a C-section include placenta previa and placental
abruption. Placenta previa is a type of abnormal positioning of the placenta that
commonly causes bleeding. The placenta is an organ in the uterus that links the blood
supply of the mother to the developing baby and by which the baby can release wastes.
Abruptio placentae is premature detachment of a normally situated placenta.
If the fetus appears in distress while in the womb, this would be an indication for a C-
section. Another indication for a C-section is cephalo-pelvic disproportion, which is a
technical term meaning that the head is too large to fit out of the birth canal.
Other C-section indications include the fetus lying transversely
(sideways) in the womb or breech position (meaning it is positioned
to come out feet first). Both of these positions make natural delivery
practically impossible which is why a C-section is performed to
remove the baby from the womb. C-sections are less dangerous for
babies than a difficult delivery with forceps.
WHAT PERCENT OF BIRTHS ARE CESARIAN SECTIONS?
About 21% of births in the U.S. are performed via C-section. The
operation is performed less often in other countries.
Arthralgia comes from the Greek word “arthron” meaning “joint,” and the Greek word “algos” meaning
“pain. “ Put the words together and you get “joint pain.”
IF I HAD A CESARIAN SECTION IN THE PAST, DO I NEED TO HAVE ANOTHER IF I BECOME
It used to be considered a rule that if the 1st baby was born via C-section, the other should be as well.
However, this is no longer considered a powerful rule and some doctors advocate trying for natural
delivery after a C-sectrion.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A CESARIAN SECTION?
A C-section is considered major surgery and thus, the mother will need some time to recover afterwards.
Since an incision was made through the belly wall, this will make it difficult to sit up and walk for a week or
so. Family, friends, or hospital staff will need to help care for the baby while the mother is recovering. A C-
section requires the mother to be in the hospital a few more days compared to mothers who have natural
WHAT ELSE IS A CESARIAN SECTION KNOWN AS?
Cesarian section is also known as c-section and cesarian birth. Although many people believe the ancient
Roman leader, Julius Caesar was born via C-section, this was actually not the case. However, C-
sections were performed in ancient Rome to remove the child from the mother's womb if the mother died
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM, CESARIAN SECTION?
The reason for the name Cesarian section is unknown but there are several possibilities. It may come
from the Latin words "Caesar lex," meaning Caesar's law. This is because Roman law stated the
procedure must be performed on a dying mother at the end of a pregnancy to save the life of the baby.
There is a legend that Julius Caesar was born via C-section, but history does not support that this is
actually true. Lastly, the term may come from the Latin word "caedare," meaning "to cut." It may be that
some combination of the above explanations explains why the term "cesarian section" came into use.