Will I need a caesarean?

There are many reasons why you may need a caesarean section and often the decision is a difficult one. Our midwife Kate explains why it's important for women to receive personalised care that supports them to make the best decision for them.

Pregnancy blog, 07/12/2016, by Tommy's midwife Kate

A new study suggests that the number of babies born by caesarean section has actually affected evolution.

The study suggests that caesarean sections have allowed women with narrow pelvises to give birth safely when previously they may not have been able to.

The researchers argue that this has allowed the genes for narrow pelvises to be passed onto future generations and created a need for more C-sections.

While having a narrow pelvis might be one factor that can lead to needing a C-section, there are many others too.

Our midwife Kate explains:

‘There are many reasons why women may need a caesarean section and often the decision is a difficult one.  It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is different.  We would always promote personalised care, so that women are supported by health professionals to make the most appropriate decision for them.  Lifestyle choices can make a difference in some cases, so keeping active and having a healthy balanced diet where possible is always important in pregnancy.’

A recent BBC article has outlined some of the key deciding factors in whether or not a woman will need a planned or unplanned caesarean, as well as busting some commonly believed caesarean myths.

Caesarean myths busted

  • an X-ray of the pelvis won't be able to predict if you can give birth naturally
  • if you are short and have small feet, that doesn't mean your body is too petite for a natural birth
  • likewise, carrying a big baby doesn't mean you will definitely need a caesarean
  • if you have had a previous section, it doesn't necessarily mean you can't try for a natural birth next time

Things that might be helpful during labour, but won't affect whether or not you need a caesarean

  • walking around while in labour
  • not lying on your back during labour
  • having an epidural
  • getting into water during labour
  • having labour induced or having your waters broken

You might need a planned caesarean if

  • you are expecting twins
  • your baby is in the breach (bottom-down) position
  • your baby is premature
  • you have a low-lying placenta
  • you have HIV, hepatitis or herpes

Sometimes an unplanned caesarean delivery might be required when

  • there is concern about your health or your baby's health
  • your labour is not progressing
  • you have vaginal bleeding during pregnancy or labour
  • you go into labour before the date of your planned caesarean section
  • but if you are pregnant and have any concerns or questions, it's always best to speak to your doctor or midwife.

Find out more about caesarean sections here.

More on labour and birth

  • A happy mother with her newborn baby.

    Delayed cord clamping (DCC)

    Cutting the cord immediately after the birth has been routine practice for 50-60 years but more recently research is showing that it is not good for the baby.

  • Pregnant woman holding her back.

    What to expect when your waters break

    Your waters can break before you go in to hospital but they are more likely to break during labour, or they can even be broken for you by your midwife to speed up your labour (a process known as artificial rupture of membranes).

More pregnancy in the news

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