Can C-sections Run in the Family?

Is it true that if your mother had a cesarean delivery, you probably will too?
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profile picture of Jennifer L.W. Fink
Registered Nurse
March 2, 2017
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Not at all. There are so many factors that come into play that can increase the odds of having a c-section — the position of the baby, the size of the baby, the condition of the mother, the experience of the doctor and, sometimes, where you’re giving birth. (New Jersey and West Virginia, for instance, have high c-section rates. Wisconsin has a low one.) Unless you inherited some physical quality that caused your mom to need to deliver via c-section, like a small or unusually shaped pelvis, there’s absolutely no reason to believe that her c-section increases your chance of needing one.

That said, c-sections today are a lot more common than they were in mom’s day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three women now gives birth via c-section — that’s more than ever before. If you want to decrease your odds of having one, avoid labor induction unless it’s medically necessary, since the c-section rate among moms who are induced is twice that of moms who go into labor on their own.

However, remember that a c-section isn’t always a bad thing, and can save baby’s life. If you’re in labor, baby’s heart rate is dropping and the doc recommends a c-section (now!), do it — no matter what your mom did. What’s most important is that baby’s born healthy, not how you deliver her.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Stuart Fischbein, MD, OB/GYN, coauthor of Fearless Pregnancy

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