I’m 37 weeks pregnant and I’m just not sure I can wait for nature to take its course. Can I ask my doctor if I can schedule a C-section?
It can be frustrating to wait until your due date to meet your baby. But Cesarean sections (or C-sections) are usually scheduled for women such as those:
Although it may be tempting to try to schedule your baby's "birth day" and avoid the uncertainty and pain of labor, C-sections should never be approached lightly. A C-section is considered a major surgery and, like any surgery, does come with risks, which include:
Another potential risk of having a scheduled C-section that is not medically necessary is giving birth to a late pre-term baby (born between 34 and 36 weeks). Why? Because the due date (also called the expected delivery date, or EDD) may be wrong. Your due date is 40 weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). If you deliver on your due date, your baby is actually only about 38 weeks old — that's because your egg didn't become fertilized until about 2 weeks after the start of your last menstrual period.
Women who have irregular periods or first-trimester bleeding might be mistaken regarding when their last menstrual period was. Although ultrasounds can help to narrow it down, the estimated date of conception could still be off by a couple of weeks.
Babies born late pre-term are generally healthy but may have temporary problems such as jaundice, trouble feeding, problems with breathing, or difficulty maintaining body temperature.
Although a traditional labor and delivery may seem scary and unpredictable, vaginal delivery usually carries fewer risks than a C-section. Plus, you can come home sooner and recover quicker with a vaginal delivery.
If you're interested in having a C-section instead of a vaginal birth, you should discuss the risks and benefits of both options in detail with your doctor.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012
|Maternal and Child Health Bureau This U.S. government agency is charged with promoting and improving the health of mothers and children.|
|International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) ICEA offers professional certification programs for childbirth educators and includes a list of ICEA-certified educators for expectant parents wishing to attend prepared childbirth classes.|
|Lamaze International The mission of Lamaze International is to promote a birth experience that is "awake, aware, and supported by family and friends" through education and advocacy.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|Birth Plans In the happy haze of early pregnancy, the reality of labor and birth may seem extremely far off - which makes this the perfect time to start planning for the arrival of your baby by creating a birth plan that details your wishes.|
|Dealing With Pain During Childbirth Alleviating your anxiety about childbirth pain is one of the best ways to ensure that you'll be able to deal with it when the time comes.|
|A Week-by-Week Pregnancy Calendar Pregnancy is an exciting time. Our week-by-week illustrated pregnancy calendar is a detailed guide to all the changes taking place in your baby - and in you!|
|Birthing Centers and Hospital Maternity Services Where you choose to give birth is an important decision. Is a hospital or a birth center right for you? Knowing the facts can help you make your decision.|
|Pregnancy & Newborn Center Advice and information for expectant and new parents.|
|Inducing Labor Find out why doctors may induce labor if you're past your due date, how it may be done, and how it may affect you and your baby.|
|Cesarean Sections (C-Sections) Many babies are delivered via cesarean sections. Learn why and how C-sections are performed.|
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