BIOPHOTO ASSOCIATES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BIOPHOTO ASSOCIATES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A woman's abdomen prepared for a Caesarean section. In this operation the baby is delivered through an incision in the abdominal and uterine walls. The mother is given an epidural or a general anaesthetic. Caesarean sections are performed if the baby is unable to fit through the mother's pelvis or shows signs of foetal distress (lack of oxygen) before the cervix is fully dilated. Other reasons for this procedure include a placenta that is lying close to the cervix, and unsuccessful induction of labour. Red stretch marks can be seen on the woman's lower abdomen.
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