Cesarean Section: What You Need to Know about C-Section
How can I make sense of what I hear about c-section and vaginal birth?
Why should I learn about how cesarean section compares with vaginal birth?
Is cesarean section a special concern for certain women?
Will c-section protect my pelvic floor from weakness or injury?
What if I have already had a cesarean section?
Childbirth Connection has created a free downloadable booklet called What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Cesarean Section. This booklet provides trustworthy information and can help you understand what is at stake and work with your doctor or midwife to make the decision that is right for you.
This section of the website contains more detailed information about the research comparing c-section and vaginal birth, as well as other resources and tips. You can learn about:
Best Evidence: C-Section for details about these and other risks that are different for cesarean and vaginal birth.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. This Pregnancy Topic covers in detail what is only touched upon here. There you will find research-backed information on the minimal degree to which c-section offers protection and many specific ideas, also backed by sound research, on how to prevent weakness and injury and relieve pelvic floor symptoms without resorting to major surgery.
VBAC or Repeat C-Section, which is our in-depth Pregnancy Topic for women who have already had one or more cesareans. If this is your situation, you will want a complete picture of the trade-offs between planning a vaginal birth after cesarean and planning a repeat cesarean section before making this crucial decision. In that section, you will find background information, lessons from the best research, tips you can take in pregnancy and while giving birth for lowering risks and increasing satisfaction, and resources for learning more, making your birth plan and reaching your goals.
If you have not had a cesarean, the VBAC or Repeat C-Section Pregnancy Topic can help you understand the dilemmas and options that pregnant women with a previous cesarean face.
Most recent page update: 1/8/2013
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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality and value of maternity care through consumer engagement and health system transformation. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
News and Features
Listening to MothersSM III is the third national survey exploring women’s experiences in pregnancy and childbirth. Commissioned by Childbirth Connection, conducted by Harris Interactive, and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the survey polled 2,400 women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals from 2011 to 2012. Results show that medically intensive experiences are typical, and evidence-based practices are underutilized. Childbearing women need better support and knowledge to navigate their maternity care.
Access the full report and supplementary materials
New Report: Maternity Care and Liability
Go to report and supporting materials
New Report: The Cost of Having a Baby in the United States
Go to report and supporting materials
New Cesarean Resources:
Go to Best Evidence Report
Go to web pages and booklet for women
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