What Is an Emergency C-Section?

In 2014, 32.2 percent of all births occurred by cesarean section, or C-section, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In some cases, performing an unplanned or emergency C-section can prevent life-threatening complications for both mother and child. However, this type of surgery also comes with some risks.

Why Doctors Perform an Emergency C-Section

risks of a C-section

An emergency C-section is a method of delivery when doctor’s take the baby through incisions in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. Doctors perform emergency C-sections to avoid life-threatening injuries to the baby and the mother. Here is a brief look at some reasons why doctors may choose this method of delivery:

  • Failure to Progress. Sometimes, labor stalls and the baby doesn’t progress down the birth canal. This can pose significant risks to the mother and child.
  • Lack of oxygen. During labor, a baby needs sufficient oxygen before there is a risk of brain damage. Sometimes, performing a C-section can get that oxygen to a baby more quickly. Estimates show that a baby has only 15 minutes without adequate oxygen before serious damage occurs.
  • Abnormal fetus position. If the fetus is positioned abnormally in the uterus, a vaginal birth might not be a viable option.
  • Small or abnormal pelvis. Some women have undersized or abnormally shaped pelvic bones, which can complicate the process by which the baby exits through the birth canal.
  • Large infant. If the mother has a small pelvis, and the baby is large in size, a vaginal birth may be impossible without injuries to both.
  • Umbilical cord concerns. If the umbilical cord exits through a mother’s cervix before the baby, or if the umbilical cord becomes pinched or compressed, a C-section might be a safer procedure for birth.
  • Previous C-section. Women who’ve experienced a C-section can still give birth vaginally, but a doctor may suggest a second to prevent injury to the mother.

Risks Associated With C-Sections

Though a C-section can save the lives of both the mother and her baby, it can be a dangerous procedure. If a baby is experiencing fetal distress, and a doctor is not present and prepared to perform a C-section, or the medical staff delays the procedure, risk of injury might increase. Common injuries associated with C-sections include:

  • Breathing problems that develop as the baby grows
  • Injury to the baby, usually by surgical tools
  • Infection in the mother
  • Excessive uterine bleeding after delivery
  • Blood clots
  • Increased risk of complications during future C-sections

We Can Help

If you believe the medical staff did not handle your emergency C-section properly and you or your child suffered injuries, you need experienced help. The team at the Holton Law Firm provides excellent legal help while also serving each client on a personal level. If you have questions, reach out to us by filling out our online contact form.