A Caesarean section (also C-section, Cesarean section) is a surgical procedure in which one or more incisions are made through a mother's abdomen (laparotomy) and uterus (hysterotomy) to deliver one or more babies, or, rarely, to remove a dead fetus. A late-term abortion using Caesarean section procedures is termed a hysterotomy abortion and is very rarely performed. The first modern Caesarean section was performed by Dr James Barry in Cape Town, South Africa on 25 July 1826.
A Caesarean section is usually performed when a vaginal delivery would put the baby's or mother's life or health at risk, although in recent times it has also been performed upon request for childbirths that could otherwise have been vaginal. In recent years, the rate has risen to a record level of 46% in China and to levels of 25% and above in many Asian, European and Latin American countries. The rate has increased significantly in the United States, to 33 percent of all births in 2012, up from 21 percent in 1996, and in the rate in 2009 varied widely between hospitals (ranging from 6.9% to 69.9% of births). Across Europe, there are significant differences between countries: in Italy the Caesarean section rate is 40%, while in the Nordic countries it is only 14%. Medical professional policy makers find that elective cesarean can be harmful to the fetus and neonate without benefit to the mother, and have established strict guidelines for non-medically indicated cesarean before 39 weeks.
Postmaturity is the condition of a baby that has not yet been born after 42 weeks of gestation, two weeks beyond the normal 40. Post-term, postmaturity, prolonged pregnancy, and post-dates pregnancy all refer to postmature birth. Post-mature births can carry risks for both the mother and the infant, including fetal malnutrition. After the 42nd week of gestation, the placenta, which supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen from the mother, starts aging and will eventually fail. If the fetus passes fecal matter, which is not typical until after birth, and the child breathes it in, then the baby could become sick with pneumonia. Postterm pregnancy may be a reason to induce labor.
Water birth refers to childbirth, usually human, that occurs in water. Proponents believe water birth results in a more relaxed, less painful experience that promotes a midwife-led model of care. Critics argue that the safety of water birth has not been scientifically proven and that a wide range of adverse neonatal outcomes have been documented, including increased mother or child infections and the possibility of infant drowning. A 2009 Cochrane Review of water immersion in the first stages of labor found evidence of fewer epidurals and few adverse effects but insufficient information regarding giving birth in water. Parent, child, and birthing organizations have produced statements both supporting and criticizing water birthing.