There are many reasons why a caesarean section may need to be performed and these include the following:
You may have had previous caesarean sections and there are concerns that if you went into labour the scar on the uterus may begin to open up causing serious harm to you and your baby
There was fetal distress and the safest decision was to deliver baby as soon as possible
Labour may have been induced (started off) and despite being given Prostin pessaries to start labour, you did not dilate enough for your waters to be broken. If the waters are not broken, it is not always possible to give the hormone drip (Syntocinon) which stimulates contractions. Alternatively, you may have been given a syntocinon drip (infusion), but your cervix did not dilate enough for you to give birth vaginally
Your baby may have been in a breech presentation (bottom first) and the doctors believed it would be safer for your baby to be born by caesarean section rather than to give birth vaginally
You may have been expecting multiples (twins or more) and the babies were not lying in positions that enabled them to be born vaginally
Your baby may have been an unstable lie. This is where the baby is very mobile inside the womb and keeps changing position – they can move from being head down (cephalic), to being breech, to lying horizontally or obliquely (cross-ways)
Your placenta (afterbirth) may have been low-lying, or positioned across the cervix (neck of the womb); this is called placenta praevia. Where this is the case, the placenta prevents the baby from descending into the birth canal. If labour begins and the cervix dilates it can cause severe bleeding (haemorrhage) which can be life-threatening to both mum and baby
You may have gone into labour too early (prematurely) and the doctors believed your baby was too small to cope with labour and a vaginal birth
You may have been unwell with raised blood pressure (pre-eclampsia) or with an infection and the doctors believed it was safer for you to have a caesarean section rather than go into labour.
Barber EL, Lundsberg LS, Belanger K et al (2011). Indications contributing to the increasing cesarean delivery rate. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 118(1): 29-38.
Bragg F, Cromwell DA, Edozien LC et al (2010).Variation in rates of caesarean section among English NHS trusts after accounting for maternal and clinical risk: cross sectional study. BMJ 341(7777):818.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2011). Caesarean section. London: NICE.