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.