Pregnancy myth: You will have a C-section if your mum did

In this series, we explore common pregnancy myths, where they come from and whether there’s any truth in them. While we offer the scientific answers to all these myths, we’ll also look them from a cultural perspective and offer practical tips.

Pregnancy myth: You will have a C-section delivery if your mum did

If you’re currently making your birth plan for labour, you might be concerned about the old wives’ tale that you will give birth the same way as your mother did. That means, if your mother had birth problems, you will too. And if your mother had a C-section delivery, forget about having a natural vaginal birth.

But your doctor tells you that it’s all nonsense. Should you ignore it, or is there any truth in the idea that methods of delivery are hereditary?

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Where it comes from

This myth probably comes from possible observations in the past that certain women had genetic-linked problems in their family that caused them to have birth complications like pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and others. The dangerous nature of pre-eclampsia usually suggests a premature delivery, while for unmonitored diabetes, the babies can grow too large and get stuck on the way out.

However, having these conditions do not preclude you from having a natural or normal delivery. Today, due to advanced medical knowledge, these conditions can be diagnosed early and monitored with methods like medication, bed rest and diet. Your doctor may also suggest inducing labour as a way to deliver your baby at the most optimal time for his and your health.

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Should I believe this myth?

Other than the above exceptions, there is really no truth to the myth. If you have a healthy pregnancy, there is nothing that will suggest a pattern to your births. Even a woman who has previously had a C-section can subsequently have a vaginal birth for the next child.

According to doctors, the mode of delivery really depends on the following:

  • How the baby is positioned in the uterus (e.g. head down or breeched)
  • How the baby presents himself (forward or backwards facing)
  • The mother’s pelvic bone structure


If you’re very small in stature and your partner is very large, you may understandably feel very worried about having a big baby that’s hard to deliver. Genetics and diet do have links to the size of your baby. However, many petite women give birth to 10 pound babies everyday in the world, and some even do it without any drugs!

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So rather than worrying about birth complication, try to relax and work on your birthing exercises, so that when the time comes, you can try for a smooth and quick natural delivery.

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