Thirty percent of all babies born in the United States are delivered by c-section (cesarean birth). While natural childbirth is still the preferred method of delivery, c-sections have become a safe and viable option for obstetricians when complications arise.
In some cases, a doctor may decide to schedule a c-section when preexisting factors determine natural childbirth may be difficult on the mother or the child. Other times, a doctor can’t determine until his or her patient is in labor that an emergency c-section is the only option.
While cesarean births are often necessary to ensure the safety of mother and child, they don’t come without risks.
Due to the increasing number of c-sections performed annually, they have become what some consider to be a routine surgery. However, it is important to remember cesarean birth is a still a surgery, and with every surgery, comes risks and potential complications.
Before consenting to a c-section, mothers-to-be should:
- Weigh all their options
- Consider potential risks associated with both natural childbirth and cesarean birth
- Make a decision that is best for their safety and the safety of their unborn child
Common c-section risks and complications fall into two categories:
1. Risks to the Safety of the Mother
As I mentioned above, a cesarean section is a major abdominal surgery. As such, recovery from a c-section is much longer than the recovery time of natural childbirth. Following a c-section, maternal complications can be found in 20 to 40 percent of all cases. Infection of the uterus, wound, or urinary tract are some of the most common maternal, c-section complications. More serious complications include: hysterectomy and cardiac arrest.
In the worst cases, c-section complications can lead to death of the mother which is four times more likely for mothers who deliver by cesarean birth than mothers who delivery naturally. Causes of death in these instances include: serious infection, blood clots, and problems with anesthesia.
Psychological differences between mothers who deliver by c-section and mothers who deliver naturally have also been documented. Cesarean birth mothers are more fatigued, sometimes even for extended periods of time. They breastfeed less, and they tend to be less confident with their babies. Furthermore, they are much more likely to be re-hospitalized, have greater levels of fear about giving birth in the future, and are overall, less satisfied with the birthing experience.
2. Risks to the Safety of the Child
Babies who are delivered by c-section may have a host of health issues. They are born with an increased risk of respiratory problems, low blood sugar, and an inability to properly regulate temperature. It has also been documented babies take longer to adapt neurologically after birth. C-section babies may have depressed immune function, abnormal hormone levels, and increased oxidative stress.
One of the most problematic complications arising out of cesarean birth is a change in the child’s gut flora. Some c-section babies are known to have altered fecal microbiota, which can last anywhere from six months to the baby’s entire life. The gut flora is associated with gastrointestinal function, protecting children from infection, as well as regulating the metabolism and immune system. Alternation of this important function can lead to diseases such as; autism, depression, autoimmune problems, bowel disease, asthma, allergies, and diabetes.
One in three woman will deliver their baby by c-section. If you are one of those woman, and you or your baby suffered a complication as a result of cesarean birth, you have to call me right away at 1 (800) 556-4769.
Author: Tim Misny | For 33 years, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving “Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus & Cincinnati, Ohio.” You can reach Tim by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 1 (800) 556-4769.