Zoo officials said 18-year-old Imani, a first-time mother, was showing signs of distress during labor and veterinarians feared the baby might not survive birth, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
Imani was not showing progress as the day progressed, so the zoo's team of veterinarians and consultants including human neonatal specialists from University of California-San Diego Medical Center made the decision to perform a C-section, City News Service, Los Angeles, reported.
"In retrospect the c-section was the right decision," Nadine Lamberski, associate director of veterinary services at the zoo. "We think the health of the fetus would have been compromised if we delayed the surgery any longer."
The female baby was born weighing 4.6 ounces Wednesday evening. She was taken to the zoo's intensive care unit to receive fluids and oxygen.
Imani was taken to the gorilla "bedroom" area to recover, officials said.
The baby girl's arrival marked the park's 17th gorilla birth.