You asked

What is the history of the c-section?

Actually the Caesarean Section is an ancient procedure used by the Romans, Egyptians, Greeks and Hindus. While there are theories on the C-section’s origins there is simply no way to prove where they actually started. Many associate the beginnings of C-sections with the Caesar era of the Roman Empire where it was decreed to cut the baby out of the mother if it looked like mum was not going to survive childbirth. This was to protect the growth of the population. There is plenty of documentation recording the delivery of children by C-section including the saint Raymond Nonnatus and Robert II of Scotland.

However, in ancient times a C-section meant the death of the mother. C-sections were performed only in a last ditch effort to save a life. The first successful C-section to have a surviving mother was in 1500 in Switzerland when a man performed the operation on his wife. She not only recovered, but had more children vaginally afterwards.

Even so, C-sections were too risky to be performed regularly and were only attempted when the possibility of losing the mother was already high. It was not regularly done until the 20th century and then only with women who had rickets. Rickets is a bone disorder that affects the pelvic bones making a vaginally delivery almost impossible.

Time has improved our C-section expertise and now at least one in every three births is done by C-section. If there is a high risk involved with delivering vaginally, a C-section is often done instead of even trying a natural delivery.
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