What is a Cesarean Section and Why May it be Necessary to Deliver a Breach Baby?

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A cesarean section, also referred to as a C-section, is a common surgical procedure for delivering a breach baby. A breach baby is also a very common reason for this type of surgical delivery. This procedure is often necessary to avoid certain complications that may harm the baby as it is being born.

What is the Breach Position?

The breech position is when an a baby’s feet or buttocks appear first instead of their head. This position most often occurs when a baby is being born prematurely. When a baby is in this position during birth certain risks are present such as umbilical cord prolapse and head entrapment.

Purpose of This Procedure

A cesarean section for a breach baby is performed to avoid potential complications that could greatly harm the baby if it were delivered vaginally. A breach baby is at risk for umbilical cord prolapse which could lead to severely diminished oxygen flow. This lack of oxygen flow could prevent the baby from being able to breath and not being able to breath could lead to irreversible brain damage. Head entrapment leads to a risk of deflexing the baby’s head. This procedure also helps to prevent other complications such as skull and brain damage.

Procedure Description

During this procedure the mother will be given either general or local anesthesia. Her stomach will be shaved and cleaned and a catheter will be inserted to empty her bladder. Next, the surgeon will make a horizontal incision across her stomach and uterus. This incision is typically made right above the pubic hairline. Once the incision is made the baby is then lifted out through the incision. Once the baby is removed, the umbilical cord will be clamped after its mouth and nose are suctioned. The placenta will then be removed by the surgeon. The uterus will then be closed with dissolvable stitches and the stomach will be closed with either stitches or staples.

Possible Complications

This surgery is considered a major surgery so complications are always a risk. The most common complications that the mother may face are anesthesia-related vomiting, nausea and severe headache, infection, blood clot in a vein, heavy blood loss and death. The complications that the infant may experience are need to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit, delivery-related injury and lung immaturity (if delivered early).


After a woman has this surgical procedure she will typically remain in the hospital for two to three days. Once she is ready to go home she will be given pain medication and will be told to take it easy for for awhile as well as be told when to follow-up with her doctor. Most women do very well with this procedure and recover well. The babies that are delivered this way also seem to do quite well.


WebMD. (2009). Cesarean Section Risks and Complications. Retrieved on August 27, 2009 from Website: https://www.webmd.com/baby/tc/cesarean-section-risks-and-complications

Pregnancy Info. (2009). The Cesarean Section Procedure. Retrieved on August 27, 2009 from Website: https://www.pregnancy-info.net/c-section_procedure.html

Answers. (2009). Breach Delivery. Retrieved on August 27, 2009 from Website: https://www.answers.com/topic/breech-birth