Asking for a C-Section on Demand

By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

Cesarean section on demand (also known as a cesarean delivery on maternal request) is having a cesarean delivery just because the mom asks for it, even though no medical or obstetrical reasons for a cesarean exist.

If you want to have a c-section on demand, make sure you discuss your wishes with your doctor well in advance of your delivery. She’ll talk to you in depth about the risks and benefits of doing this to help you make an informed decision.

If you plan on having lots of children, having a c-section on demand probably isn’t a good idea because the risks for some problems increase with each subsequent cesarean delivery.

Over the past ten years or so, having a c-section on demand has become increasingly more popular. In fact, statistics show that about 2.5 percent of all deliveries in the United States each year are by c-section on demand.

The potential benefits of this mode of delivery are a lower risk of postpartum bleeding or hemorrhage and a lower risk of urinary incontinence. The latter has been shown to be true in the first year after delivery, but after that time, the risk of this problem is equal between moms who deliver vaginally and those who have c-section on demand.

The downsides to c-section on demand are a longer stay in the hospital, transient breathing problems for the baby, and higher risks in your subsequent pregnancies for problems like uterine rupture and an adherent placenta (also known as placenta accrete).