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Cesarean Sections (C-Sections): Complications and Implications

Updated December 14, 2021 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

What Is a C-Section?

A cesarean section (or C-section) is a major surgical delivery method that involves making incisions in the mother’s abdominal wall and uterus. In the United States, nearly 1 in every 3 women deliver through C-section rather than through vaginal delivery. If you have a healthy pregnancy, it is best to deliver your baby through vaginal birth. However, in some instances, a C-section is the safest way to deliver your baby.

Although C-sections are generally considered safe, they pose a higher threat to mothers and babies. Because it is a major surgery, the recovery time is longer, and the surgery can raise the risk of having problems with current and future pregnancies.

When Are C-Sections Needed?

Most C-sections are scheduled surgeries, but some C-sections are unexpected emergency deliveries performed when complications arise during labor.

Scheduled C-Sections

A doctor may schedule a C-section if:

  • The mother has problems with the placenta, such as placenta previa
  • The mother is carrying more than one baby
  • The mother has had previous uterine surgery or a previous C-section
  • The baby is breech
  • The baby has certain birth defects

Emergency C-Sections

A doctor may perform an emergency C-section if:

  • Labor stops or isn’t progressing properly
  • The mother’s placenta detaches from the uterine wall too soon (placental abruption)
  • The baby’s umbilical cord becomes pinched
  • The baby’s umbilical cord enters the birth canal before the baby
  • The baby is in fetal distress
  • The baby’s head or body is too big for the birth canal

What Should I Expect Before, During, and After Having a C-Section?


  • Your doctor will explain why he or she believes a C-section is necessary
  • You will sign a consent form
  • You will likely be given an epidural or spinal block
  • A catheter will be inserted into your urethra in order to drain urine
  • An IV is started for fluids and medications
  • You may be given an antacid medication as a precautionary measure


  • After the anesthesia has taken effect, the doctor will make the first incision (a low transverse cut or bikini cut, typically across your belly, just above your pubic bone)
  • The doctor makes the next cut into your uterus
  • The doctor opens the amniotic sac and removes the baby
  • The doctor cuts the umbilical cord and delivers the placenta
  • The doctor will begin the process of closing you up (using stitches or staples)


  • Women typically stay in the hospital for 2 to 4 days after surgery
  • You may feel tired and sore for the first few days or weeks (full recovery typically takes 4 to 6 weeks)
  • You may be constipated and gassy
  • You could possibly have a hard time getting around and/or lifting your baby

What Are the Risks Associated with C-Section Delivery?

C-sections are generally considered safe, but there are risks with any type of surgery. Potential risks as a result of cesarean section delivery include:

  • Excessive bleeding in the mother (could lead to the need for a blood transfusion)
  • Infection in the mother (usually given antibiotics to prevent this)
  • Longer hospital stays for both mother and baby
  • Organ injury
  • Negative reactions to certain medicines
  • Blood clots (in legs, pelvic organs, or lungs)
  • Death
  • Premature birth
  • Breathing problems in the baby
  • Injury to the baby
  • Problems with breastfeeding and future pregnancies and deliveries

What Is a Delayed C-Section?

In some cases, doctors fail to schedule a C-section even when the warning signs are present. Failure to detect fetal distress, negligent fetal monitoring during labor, failure to closely monitor the mother for distress, and failure to secure an operation room in time to perform the surgery are all causes of delayed C-sections. Delayed C-sections can lead to infant brain damage, cerebral palsy, autism, increased risk of physical injuries, and physical developmental delays.

Contact a Birth Injury Attorney Today

If you believe that your child has been injured as a result of cesarean section delivery, your first step is to reach out to a birth injury lawyer. An Indianapolis birth injury lawyer and staff can help you build a case and get you and your child the help you need.

With a strong and trustworthy attorney, you’ll have someone advocating for what’s rightfully yours. Contact Wilson Kehoe Winingham for a consultation to decide how to best move forward with your case. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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