(NaturalNews) A cesarean section is an operation to deliver a baby by making a cut in the front wall of a woman's abdomen and womb. This can be life-saving in the case of an emergency. However, the worldwide trend to deliver by c-section continues to rise. Why do women elect to have this procedure and what do recent studies indicate risk-wise for the mother and child?
No-one disputes a woman's right to choose how to deliver her baby. However, making an informed choice regarding an elective c-section means taking an objective look at the risks. According to a study led by Alan T.N. Tita, assistant professor in the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, "Women who choose to have their babies delivered via repeat cesarean at 37 or 38 weeks without a medical or obstetric indication, risk serious complications for their child."
C-Section Infant Complications
Risks for the baby include:
Premature birth when the delivery date is not accurately calculated.
According to a recent study, c-section babies may not have the same beneficial bacteria at birth as babies delivered naturally. This may cause immune related troubles to develop later in life.
Babies born by c-section are more likely to develop breathing problems, asthma and allergies later in life.
C-section is known to raise a child's risk of diabetes by 20 percent.
Lower Apgar scores at birth.
C-Section Maternal Complications
Risks for the mother include:
Surgical wound complications such as adhesions that can cause bowel obstruction and chronic pain.
Longer hospital stay and recovery time. Getting in and out of bed is more painful with a possible dependency on others to pass the baby for feeding and help at home.
Heavy blood loss and pain at the incision site that may persist beyond six months.
Infection of the uterus, incision or other organs such as kidney or bladder.
Blood clots in the legs, pelvic organs or lungs.
Risk of ectopic pregnancies and reduced fertility.
Risk of placenta previa or placenta accreta, potentially leading to severe bleeding during subsequent deliveries.
Increased risk of hysterectomy and hemorrhage with an increased risk of re-hospitalization.
Death - rare but 4 times more likely with a c-section than with a vaginal delivery.
Why do Women Choose to Have a C-Section?
Some women like to follow the example of celebrity trend-setters who opt to have elective c-section deliveries.
Some women dislike the idea of a "messy" birth and the possibility of giving birth to a baby with a misshapen head.
Convenience for mother and doctor as time for the delivery is scheduled.
C-section is usually considered the safest option in the case of a breech presentation.
Cesarean delivery is often planned if a mother is overweight.
Multiple gestations increase the risk of complications that lead to cesareans.
C-section deliveries are often recommended to older women.
Fear of labor and delivery pain.
Fear of pelvic prolapse and eventual urinary or rectal incontinence.
Cost of Cesarean
The average physician's charges for uncomplicated vaginal delivery in the U.S. is just under $4,500. For an uncomplicated cesarean delivery, it is $7,000. Hospitalization costs are doubled, going from an average of a little over $5,000 to over $10,000.
In the past, it was standard practice to perform a repeat cesarean after a prior cesarean birth. However, in a recent release, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that "Attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is a safe and appropriate choice for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery, including for some women who have had two previous cesareans".
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.