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Labor & Delivery

Q&A: Ways To Avoid A C-Section?

I’m getting closer to my due date and am scared of having a c-section. Is there anything I can do to avoid it?

Not always. In most cases, cesarean sections happen because your baby can’t be delivered vaginally, no matter what you or your doctor does to help her along. You might need a c-section if your baby is breech (bottom first) or transverse (sideways). Your doctor can try to move the baby into the proper (head-down) position, but this doesn’t always work. You may also need a c-section if your baby is especially large or you have placenta previa (when the placenta covers the cervix and blocks baby’s exit).

Sometimes complications during labor force doctors to deliver a baby by c-section. If labor stalls (meaning the cervix stops dilating); your baby’s heart rate slows or becomes irregular; the umbilical cord slips through the cervix (a “prolapsed cord”); or the placenta separates from the uterine wall (placental abruption), your doctor will perform a c-section.

Try not to worry. Good prenatal care will boost your chances of delivering vaginally and handling any complications that might arise. No matter how baby travels from your uterus to your arms, you’ll be thrilled to pieces when she arrives!