It's a c-section!

A panicked mother's guide to the almighty cesarean

Stalled Labor

We’ve all heard stories of 28-hour marathon labor that finally resulted in a happy, healthy baby that the mother could then torment and guilt with the story of how she gave him life every time he refused to take out the trash. But believe it or not, even if you’re in for the long haul, you might get halfway there and hit a brick wall. After hours of perfectly normal crush-your-partner’s-hand labor, sometimes things just stop. If you get there, you probably won’t be consulting the Internet, but it’s good to know if you’re looking ahead.

baby with head too large to pass through pelvis
Image courtesy of
Geisinger Krames Online

Cephalopelvic disproportion

These very large words mean that your baby’s very large head will not fit through your normal-sized pelvis. Or, possibly, that your baby’s normal-sized head will not fit through your abnormally small pelvis. Either way, I hope you haven’t been pushing for too long, because you are about to hear the words “c-section.”


Weak Contractions

Print-out of a contraction off of a monitor.
Image courtesy of Sutter Health

Try not to hit your doctor too hard if he describes your contractions as “weak” or “insufficient.” What he is really trying to say is that while they are absolutely strong enough to put you in the worst pain you’ve ever felt, they are not quite strong enough to push a small human out of your cervix. In this case, there are several measures your doctor may recommend, such as artificially breaking your water or starting you on a drug like oxytocin to strengthen your contractions, before a c-section becomes necessary.