Evolution of the Cesarean Technique

Evolution of the Cesarean Technique

Last update: 09 July, 2018

The evolution of the cesarean technique has had an impact in both the social sphere and the evolutionary field. As you know, a cesarean section is a surgical way of bringing a baby into the world, and it has become more common in recent times.

In today’s society, cesarean sections are no longer seen as a risky surgical procedure. On the contrary, they have been normalized to such a point that they cause little to no concern.

But how did this technique evolve and how has it changed humanity? How has it become so normal? Find out below.

What is a cesarean section?

A cesarean section is a technique in which the fetus is removed from the mother’s womb through surgery. It is one of the most common operations today. In addition, thanks to advances in medicine, it can be considered a technique that offers a guarantee of security.

In view of the frequency with which it is practiced, cesarean sections have become increasingly popular. Among others, one reason is because scientific advances allow the risks to be minimized for both the mother and the baby. The decision to perform a cesarean section may be due to several reasons:

  • Because there is a situation that endangers the life of the baby or the mother at the moment of childbirth.
  • As a consensus decision between doctor and patient. This is a psychological factor, associated with the idea of pain and the preference to “schedule” birth.
  • Because of the evolution of the human species. This point is supported by scientific studies that talk about a change in women‘s bone structure over time, narrowing the pelvis.

The evolution of the cesarean technique

A popular myth often relates this technique to the birth of Julius Caesar, but this is quite unlikely because of the limited medical knowledge in those times. Rather, the name is due to the Latin word caedere, which means to cut, as in cut the maternal womb to extract the fetus.

Until the development of anesthesia and antibiotics, any surgical intervention posed a considerable risk. Because of these risks, a cesarean section was a last-resort decision until the second half of the twentieth century. It was done in cases of extreme risk for the mother and baby, and the technique didn’t offer a guarantee of success.

The first documented cesarean section is the one performed in the year 1794 in the United States. Jesse Bennett, the doctor who carried it out, performed it on his wife. She, together with the child, recovered satisfactorily, setting an important precedent in the history of medicine.

Evolution of the Cesarean Technique

The cesarean section and human evolution

The development of science, and medicine in particular, has allowed us to achieve a better quality of life, in addition to extending our life expectancy. What is interesting to know is that this technical development has generated evolutionary changes. Women’s bodies have adapted to this technique.

Types of cesarean sections

The cesarean section is classified according to the area of the body where the cut is made. In this way, there is the corporal or classic cesarean and the segmental or low transverse cesarean. The corporal cesarean carries risks, so it is no longer frequently used.

Among the many classifications of the cesarean section, one divides it into two groups. The criterion that is used is the moment in which it is decided to carry out the cesarean:

  • Elective cesarean: Also called a scheduled cesarean, the decision to perform it is made before labor and delivery begin.
  • Intrapartum or emergency cesarean: this usually takes place due to complications during the birthing process.
  • Segmental cesarean: This modality, the most frequently used, cuts an area in the lower segment of the uterus. This is where a smaller number of muscle fibers are affected, and healing takes place much faster.
    • A segmental cesarean can be done with a vertical cut (not recommended), transverse cut (most common) or T-shaped cut. The latter is an option when there are complications with the fetus during childbirth.

The evolution of the cesarean technique has allowed a large number of births to take place, and it has become one of the most common medical procedures. In Spain, 25% of children are born using this technique, which actually exceeds the recommendations of the World Health Organization. They advise it to remain at around 15%.

Undoubtedly, the evolution of this technique is a human achievement. But ideally, it is performed when medically necessary for mother and child.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.