|Potential risks of cesarean birth|
|Friday, 20 April 2012 11:13|
The month of April is dedicated to the awareness of cesarean birth – an increasingly common procedure often used to protect the lives of mother and child during difficult pregnancies. In honor of this month, the National Weekly looks at the potential concerns and health risks of this procedure for expectant mothers.
A cesarean birth, or "C-Section," occurs through an incision in the abdominal wall and uterus rather than through the vagina. There has been a gradual increase in cesarean births over the past 30 years. In November of 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the national cesarean birth rate was the highest ever at 29.1 percent. This means that more than one in four women are likely to experience a cesarean delivery.
There are risks with any major surgical procedure. It is important to understand these risks before having a C-Section.
• Infection: Infection can occur at the incision site, in the uterus and in other pelvic organs such as the bladder.
• Hemorrhage or increased blood loss: There is more blood loss in a cesarean delivery than with a vaginal delivery. This can lead to anemia, requiring a blood transfusion (one to six women per 100 require a blood transfusion).
• Injury to organs: Possible injury to organs such as the bowel or bladder.
• Adhesions: Scar tissue may form inside the pelvic region, causing blockage and pain. Adhesions can also lead to future pregnancy complications such as placental abruption.
• Extended hospital stay: After a cesarean birth, the normal stay in the hospital is three to five days after the birth, if there are no complications.
• Extended recovery time: The amount of time needed for recovery after a cesarean section can range from weeks to months. This extended recovery can have an impact on bonding time with the baby. One in 14 women report pain six months or more after surgery.
• Reactions to medications: There can be a negative reaction to the anesthesia given during a cesarean birth or to pain medication given after the procedure.
• Risk of additional surgeries: Includes possible hysterectomy, bladder repair or another c- section.
• Maternal mortality: The maternal mortality rate for a c-section is higher than with a vaginal birth.
• Emotional reactions: Some women who have had a c-section report feeling negatively about their birth experience and may have trouble with initially bonding with their baby.
Risks and complications for the baby:
• Premature birth: If the gestational age was not calculated correctly, a baby delivered by cesarean birth could be delivered too early and have low birth weight.
• Breathing problems: When delivered by cesarean birth, a baby is more likely to have breathing and respiratory problems. Some studies show that newborns have a greater need for assistance with breathing and immediate care after a cesarean delivery than with a vaginal delivery.
• Low Apgar scores: Babies born by c-section are 50 percent more likely to have lower Apgar scores (a system used to access a newborn's health immediately after birth) than those born vaginally.
• Fetal injury: Very rarely, the baby may be nicked or cut during the incision (on average, one or two babies per 100 will be cut during the surgery).