Your due date came and went with no baby, and now your obstetrician is talking about the need for a C-section. This wasn’t how you had planned to welcome your little bundle of joy into the world.

Is this surgery really necessary? It just might be. Read on to learn about common conditions that could make a C-section become a reality for your baby’s birth.

There are multiple babies

The more developing fetuses you have competing for real estate inside your womb, the more likely it is that a C-section is needed to ensure their health and safety as well as the mother’s. However, with today’s technologies, most obstetricians and parents know well in advance that they will be delivering multiple babies and can plan ahead for this eventuality.

The baby is larger than average

Conversely, the mother may have a very narrow pelvis that makes it especially difficult or traumatic for the baby to pass normally through the birth canal. The medical name for this condition is cephalopelvic disproportion. Should the baby’s head be too large or the mother’s pelvis too small to accommodate a vaginal birth, the doctor may need to perform a C-section.

Fetal or maternal distress

Although giving birth may be the most natural process in the world, the fact remains that there can be a lot taking place in the delivery room during a baby’s birth. Things can start going south with little warning, meaning that obstetricians must make split-second decisions in some cases in order to save the lives of both the mother and her baby.

If the baby suffers a problem with the umbilical cord or the placenta or the mother’s pre-existing condition causes dangerous complications, there might be little time for debate about a C-section.

Did your doctor fail to act appropriately?

The problem may lie in the opposite direction if your obstetrician failed to perform a C-section when it became medically necessary. If you or your baby suffered ill health as a result, this could become the basis of a medical malpractice claim against the negligent obstetrician.