C-section (cesarean birth) is surgery to deliver a baby. C-section options, what to expect before, during, and after the delivery of your baby are important considerations for birth. Reasons for a C-section delivery include multiple births, health problems, problems with the pelvis, placenta, or umbilical cord. Vaginal birth after a C-section (VBAC) is also an important issue to discuss with your doctor if you have had prior C-section deliveries. Read more: C-Section (Cesarean Birth) Article
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Pregnancy: Multiple Births, Twins, Triplets, and More
Multiple births occur when a woman bears twins, triplets, or even more babies during pregnancy. More multiples are born today...
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The abdomen (commonly called the belly) is the body space between the thorax (chest) and pelvis. See a picture of the Abdomen and...
Related Disease Conditions
24 Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs
Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women experience the same symptoms. When women do experience pregnancy symptoms they may include symptoms include missed menstrual period, mood changes, headaches, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, and heartburn. Signs and symptoms in late pregnancy include leg swelling and shortness of breath. Options for relief of pregnancy symptoms include exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
Ectopic Pregnancy (Tubal Pregnancy)
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy located outside the inner lining of the uterus. The majority of ectopic pregnancies occur in the Fallopian tube. Signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy may include abdominal pain, lack of menstrual period (amenorrhea), vaginal bleeding, fainting, dizziness, and low blood pressure. Treatment options for an ectopic pregnancy include observation, medication, or surgery.
Blood Clots (in the Leg)
Blood clots can form in the heart, legs, arteries, veins, bladder, urinary tract, and uterus. Risk factors include high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Symptoms and treatment depend on the location of the clot.
Placenta previa is a pregnancy condition that occurs when the placenta lies low and either partly or completely blocks the uterus. Learn about symptoms, types, causes, and treatment.
Childbirth Delivery Methods and Types
Learn about the pros and cons of various childbirth methods, such as the Bradley method, C-section, natural childbirth, water birth, Lamaze, and vaginal delivery. Read about birthing centers, hospital and home births, midwives, and doulas.
Fetal Movement (Quickening): Feeling Baby Kick
Pregnancy can be one of the most joyous time in a couple's life. Learn what your baby's first movements may feel like week by week, how often you may feel them, what time of day the baby is most active, and what to do if you feel your baby is not moving as much as you feel it should be moving.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
What Is Genital Herpes in Women?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Symptoms of genital herpes include painful blisters and often fever, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes for the first outbreak. Genital herpes is diagnosed with lab tests to test for the presence of the virus. Treatment for genital herpes includes antiviral medications to shorten the duration of the outbreak or reduce the risk of future outbreaks. There is no cure for genital herpes. Condoms may help prevent the spread of genital herpes.
Uterine Fibroids (Benign Tumors of the Uterus)
Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors in the womb (uterus). Most uterine fibroids do not cause symptoms; however, if the fibroid is large enough and in the right location, it may cause symptoms of pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and pressure on the bladder or rectum. Uterine fibroids that remain small and do not grow usually do not need treatment; however, surgery to remove the fibroid may be necessary. Uterine fibroids do not cause cancer; however, there is a rare, fast-growing cancerous called leiomyosarcoma.
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)
Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Doula vs. Midwife
A midwife and doula are not the same thing. A doula's job is to provide non-medical, emotional, and personal support to a woman throughout her pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum experience. A certified nurse midwife is a medical health care professional that manages the overall general health of the mother and baby; for example, performs exams, orders laboratory tests, and procedures, and performs fetal monitoring from the pregnant woman's first prenatal visit to post-partum and aftercare. A midwife can deliver the baby, whereas a doula cannot. A midwife usually tries to minimize the use of unnecessary technological interventions. A midwife cannot perform C-sections, use vacuums or forceps during labor and delivery.
What Is More Painful C-section or Natural Birth?
Ultimately, a natural birth may be more painful than a cesarean section. However, the pain after your cesarean section combined with the heightened risks to you and your baby may outweigh the initial pain of childbirth.
Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
Preeclampsia is a condition in pregnant women marked by high blood pressure and a high level of protein in the urine. Eclampsia occurs when preeclampsia goes untreated. Eclampsia can cause coma and death of the mother and baby. Preeclampsia symptoms include rapid weight gain, abdominal pain, headaches, blood in the urine, dizziness, and excessive vomiting and nausea. The only real cure for preeclampsia and eclampsia is the birth of the baby.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hospital Birth?
Many women give birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home. The advantages of a hospital birth include pain control, access to a NICU, staff support, and availability of interventions. Disadvantages include stress, fewer birthing positions, fewer support people, and you may not be able to choose your delivery doctor.
DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) During Pregnancy
Deep vein thrombosis or DVT is a condition in which a blood clot becomes embedded in one of the deep veins of the arms, thighs, pelvis, or lower legs. Warning signs and symptoms of DVT include pain, warmth, redness, swelling, leg cramps, and worsening leg pain in the affected extremity. Many conditions and other factors can cause DVTs, for example, during pregnancy including postpartum (6-8 weeks after delivery of the baby), obesity, heart attacks or heart failure, cancer, birth control pills (oral contraceptives), recent surgery, high altitudes, and advanced age. Treatment guidelines for DVT diagnosed during pregnancy is anticoagulation (anti-clotting) drugs, usually, low-molecular-weight heparins. DVT treatment may need to be continued postpartum. Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) should not be used to treat DVT during pregnancy because it can harm the developing fetus.
Do C-section Scars Go Away?
C-section scars do not go away completely. They can fade on their own with time or with treatments, but a visible line is often left. You can use nonsurgical and surgical methods to reduce the appearance of scars.
Can You Have a Hysterectomy With C-Section?
Hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) may be performed during Cesarean delivery and is referred to as a Cesarean hysterectomy. It involves the removal of the uterus at the time of Cesarean delivery.
Scar formation is a natural part of the healing process after injury. The depth and size of the wound incision and the location of the injury impact the scar's characteristics, but your age, heredity and even sex or ethnicity will affect how your skin reacts.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection left untreated causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a type of virus called a retrovirus, which can infect humans when it comes in contact with tissues that line the vagina, anal area, mouth, or eyes, or through a break in the skin. HIV infection is generally a slowly progressive disease in which the virus is present throughout the body at all stages of the disease. Three stages of HIV infection have been described. The initial stage of infection (primary infection), which occurs within weeks of acquiring the virus, often is characterized by the flu- or mono-like illness that generally resolves within weeks. The stage of chronic asymptomatic infection (meaning a long duration of infection without symptoms) lasts an average of eight to 10 years without treatment. The stage of symptomatic infection, in which the body's immune (or defense) system has been suppressed and complications have developed, is called the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The symptoms are caused by the complications of AIDS, which include one or more unusual infections or cancers, severe loss of weight, and intellectual deterioration (called dementia). When HIV grows (that is, by reproducing itself), it acquires the ability to change (mutate) its own structure. These mutations enable the virus to become resistant to previously effective drug therapy. The goals of drug therapy are to prevent damage to the immune system by the HIV virus and to halt or delay the progress of the infection to symptomatic disease. Therapy for HIV includes combinations of drugs that decrease the growth of the virus to such an extent that the treatment prevents or markedly delays the development of viral resistance to the drugs. The best combination of drugs for HIV are those that effectively suppress viral replication in the blood and also are well tolerated and simple to take so that people can take the medications consistently without missing doses.
Is Natural Birth Better Than Epidural?
You might feel pressured to have a natural birth or an epidural, but the fact is that one isn’t necessarily better than the other.
Listeria is a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Listeriosis symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and fever. Pregnant women are 20 times more likely than other healthy adults to get listeriosis. Listeria infection is treated with antibiotics.
What Are the Side Effects of Vacuum Delivery?
Vacuum delivery is a type of assisted birth delivery also called ventouse-assisted delivery. Vacuum-assisted birth is a method to assist the delivery of a baby using a vacuum device. The side effects include potential risks to the mother and risks to the baby.
Conjoined twins are identical twins. In both types of twins, the embryo is supposed to separate during the first two weeks after conception; however, in conjoined twins the embryo does not separate in two. The types of conjoined twins are based on the location of the fusion, and include thoracopagus or xiphopagus, omphalopagus, craniopagus, parapagus, pygopagus, ischiopagus, and rachipagus or rachiopagus. The possibility of surgery for separation, prognosis, and life expectancy of conjoined twins depend on the type.
Pregnancy Changes and Body Discomforts
Pregnancy can bring challenges like weight gain, stretch marks, varicose veins, heartburn, constipation, hemorrhoids, problems sleeping, and wondering if it is safe to have sex while pregnant. Learn how to manage and move through these challenges during pregnancy.
People who have bladder spasms, the sensation occurs suddenly and often severely. A spasm itself is the sudden, involuntary squeezing of a muscle. A bladder spasm, or "detrusor contraction," occurs when the bladder muscle squeezes suddenly without warning, causing an urgent need to release urine. The spasm can force urine from the bladder, causing leakage. When this happens, the condition is called urge incontinence or overactive bladder.
A common form of short stature, achondroplasia (dwarfism) is a genetic condition causing a disorder of bone growth. Complications of achondroplasia that need monitoring include (this is not all inclusive) stenosis and compression of the spinal cord, a large opening under the skull, lordosis, kyphosis, spinal stenosis, hydrocephalus, middle ear infections, obesity, and dental crowning. Achondroplasia is caused by mutations of the FGFR3 gene.
Pain Relief Options for Childbirth
Women experience and tolerate pain differently. For some pregnant women, focused breathing is all they need to get through labor and childbirth; but for others, numbing of the pain is desired. There are a number of different medications a woman can take during labor and childbirth. It is important for you to learn what pain relief options are available. Please discuss the options with your health care professional well before your "birth day" so that when you are in labor you understand the choices.
Preeclampsia (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension)
Preeclampsia is related to increased blood pressure and protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia typically begins after the 20th week of pregnancy. When preeclampsia causes seizures, it is termed "eclampsia" and is the second leading cause of maternal death of in the US. Preeclampsia is the leading cause of fetal complications. Risk factors for preeclampsia include high blood pressure, obesity, multiple births, and women with preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma. Pregnancy planning and lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy.
Are C-Sections Really That Bad?
In most births, the baby exits the uterus through the birth canal after a period of labor. C-sections are more complex than vaginal births because they are a form of surgery.
How Common Are Complications During Childbirth?
Labor or childbirth is a physiologic process during which the fetus, membranes, umbilical cord and placenta are expelled from the uterus. The most common complications during childbirth include preeclampsia, eclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, infections and uterine atony.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy (STDs)
When you are pregnant, many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be especially harmful to you and your baby. These STDs include herpes, HIV/AIDS, genital warts (HPV), hepatitis B, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Symptoms include bumps, sores, warts, swelling, itching, or redness in the genital region. Treatment of STDs while pregnant depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy and the progression of the infection.
What Happens During a C-Section?
A C-section or Cesarean section is a surgery in which a baby can be delivered through the abdomen and uterus.
How Long Is Recovery After C-Section?
Cesarean deliveries make up for an estimated 31.9 percent of all deliveries in the United States. Recovery after cesarean delivery can take as long as one and a half months.
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