pregnancy tips

Cesarean Section – Why it is so called?

Cesarean section can be stated to be a surgical procedure which is performed on the would-be mother. The objective is to deliver the baby via an incision made on the abdomen and uterus of the woman.

How Did Caesarean Sections Get Their Name?

There are many body parts, which has been named for famous people such as the Eustachian and Fallopian tubes that are called after those anatomists, who introduced them like Bartolomeo Eustachi and Gabriele Fallopio. Some procedures developed by people had its name just like their introducers. One such item is the Heimlich maneuver, which has been named after Henry Heimlich. However, in either of the case, the cesarean section does not fall into.

Ancient history

A common theory stated is that it is after the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar that cesarean sections have been named. It has been assumed that he was born of this type. It is through the writings by Pliny the Elder, a famous Roman historian and the 10th century Byzantine encyclopedia that a link is found between Julius Caesar and cesarean sections. According to the encyclopedia, Aurelia, Caesar’s mother had died during the pregnancy’s ninth month. She had to be cut open to ensure that the baby was born.

Before the birth of Caesar in Rome, a law required the baby to be removed from its mother’s womb, if she had died during childbirth. This was to give it a separate burial. This practice was also conducted as last resort for saving the life of the baby, immediately after the mother’s untimely death.

How Caesar is associated with a baby’s surgical delivery?

One probability can be stated that Caesar’s ancestor was born in similar manner. It is for this reason Caesarean section is associated with the family name. Pliny had mentioned the birth of a Caesar in such a manner, but not exactly specified Julius.

The truth is that Caesar or his family in any manner is not linked to the procedure’s name. ‘Caedare’ is a Latin word meaning ‘to cut’. Caesus, is its past participle. Hence, this procedure has been given the name. It effectively means a procedure involving cutting into the uterus and hence is termed as c-section.

Such births have recently become common due to the advent of advanced modern technology, antibiotics and anesthesia. However, when ancient human history is taken into consideration, the baby was removed from the mother’s womb only if she had died during childbirth and hence, was undoubtedly a last resort. But there were many women in many cultures, across the globe, during those times, who having had the c-section went on to live for a long time. References can be found to the c-sections in ancient, Roman, Hindu, Grecian and Egyptian medical texts as well as in European folklore. Ancient Chinese etchings found also showed clearly how the procedure was performed among women and found them to be alive even after childbirth.

Section here, means act of cutting. It is used for describing thin tissue slice used for microscopic examinations as well as in radiology for describing images like the saggital section.


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