Cesarean Delivery Normally, the baby’s head comes through the vagina first. But if the baby is in a breech position, its buttocks are the first part to emerge from the vagina. In 1 of every 25 deliveries, the baby’s head is still in the uterus when the rest of the body is out. Because breech births can cause respiratory problems, if the baby is in a breech position a surgical procedure known as a cesarean delivery is usually performed. In a cesarean delivery (or cesarean section), the baby is removed from the uterus through an incision made in the mother’s abdomen. The benefits and risks of cesarean deliveries Page 67continue to be debated (Furukawa, Sameshima, & Ikenoue, 2014). Some critics argue that far too many babies are delivered by cesarean section in the United States and around the world (Gibbons & others, 2012). The U.S. cesarean birth rate (38.7 percent) was essentially unchanged from 2010 through 2013 (Martin & others, 2015).
The Transition from Fetus to Newborn Much of our discussion of birth so far has focused on the mother. However, birth also involves considerable stress for the baby. If the delivery takes too long, the baby can develop anoxia, a condition in which the fetus or newborn has an insufficient supply of oxygen. Anoxia can cause brain damage.
The baby has considerable capacity to withstand the stress of birth. Large quantities of adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones that protect the fetus in the event of oxygen deficiency, are secreted in the newborn’s body during the birth process.