Why are C-sections Discouraged?
A Cesarean section (C-section) refers to the surgical method of delivering a newborn through the mother’s abdomen instead of by vaginal birth. In some cases, a doctor will schedule a C-section in advance of labor and delivery because the doctor believes an attempted vaginal delivery would be too risky for the baby or the mother. In other cases, a vaginal delivery is planned, but a change in circumstances obliges the physician to switch gears and move to the operating room for an urgent or emergent C-section.
A C-section is a major surgical event, and there are serious risks for both the mother and the baby. For this reason, many advocates are fighting to reduce C-section rates in the United States.
C-sections can save lives in the event of a high-risk pregnancy or an identified medical concern. Many hospitals and doctors in the U.S., however, are quick to order C-sections, even in low risk scenarios. In fact, statistics indicate that 26 percent of low-risk mothers who gave birth in the U.S. in 2017 had C-sections. The C-section rate for individual states ranged from about 18 percent to 31 percent of low-risk pregnancies ending in a C-section. The following are the states with the highest rates of low-risk C-sections:
- Florida = 31 percent
- Mississippi = 30.8 percent
- Louisiana = 30.4 percent
- New Jersey = 29.3 percent
- Texas = 28.6 percent
- Kentucky = 28.3 percent
- Alabama = 28.2 percent
- Connecticut = 28.2 percent
- Georgia = 27.9 percent
- West Virginia = 27.6 percent
While some C-sections are necessary to protect the mother and baby, others are ordered even though they are not medically indicated. Sometimes, this is for the mother’s convenience. Sometimes, it is for the doctor’s convenience. Whenever an unnecessary C-section is done, there is an increased risk of preventable injury to newborn and mother.
Risks of a C-Section
Even though C-sections are intended to reduce the risk of harm, there are inherent risks to this method of delivery over vaginal birth in a healthy situation. Some common risks include:
- Transient tachypnea, which is a breathing problem of the newborn
- Nicks or lacerations to the newborn due to surgical instruments
- Infection of the mother’s uterus
- Infection of the surgical wound
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Blood clots
- Surgical injuries to the mother’s bowel or bladder
- Adverse reactions to anesthesia
In addition to the above, mothers who have C-sections face greater risks in subsequent pregnancies than mothers who have vaginal births. C-sections can increase the risk of placenta previa or placenta accreta in subsequent pregnancies. In addition, attempts at vaginal birth in later pregnancies (referred to as “VBAC” or vaginal birth after C-section) will be riskier due to the possibility of the uterus rupturing along the C-section scar line.
Due to these risks, many experts discourage unnecessary C-sections. When doctors order C-sections for mothers who likely would have had a safe vaginal birth, they put both the baby and mother at unnecessary risk of complications, as well as longer recovery time.
Contact Our Ohio Birth Injury Attorneys for Help Today
The Eisen Law Firm represents families dealing with preventable birth injuries to mothers and newborns. Doctors who make serious errors during pregnancy, labor, or delivery should be held accountable for the losses of affected families. Call 216-687-0900 or contact us online to discuss a possible birth injury claim in Ohio today.