RISKS OF A CESAREAN PROCEDURE
A cesarean birth happens 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%, which is over a quarter of all deliveries. This means that over 1 in 4 women will experience a
With any major surgical procedure, there are risks involved. It is important to know and
understand your risks before a cesarean procedure, so that you may feel equipped to talk with your health care
provider and make informed decisions.
Risks and Complications for the Mom:
Take into account that most of the following risks are associated with any type of abdominal
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 or a blood transfusion (1 to 6 women per 100
require a blood transfusion).
Injury to organs: Possible injury to organs such as the bowel or bladder (2 per 100).
Adhesions: Scar tissue may form inside the pelvic region causing blockage and pain.
This can also lead to future pregnancy complication such as placenta previa or placental abruption.
Extended hospital stay: After a cesarean, the normal time in the hospital is 3-5 days
after giving birth if there are no complications.
Extended recovery time: The amount of time needed for recovery after a cesarean can
extend from weeks to months, having an impact on bonding time with your baby (1 in 14 report incisional
pain six months or more after surgery).
Reactions to medications: There can be a negative reaction to the anesthesia given
during a cesarean or reaction to pain medication given after the procedure.
Risk of additional surgeries: Such as hysterectomy, bladder repair or another
Maternal mortality: The maternal mortality rate for a cesarean is greater than with a
Emotional reactions: Women who have a cesarean report feeling negatively about their
birth experience and may have trouble with initial bonding with their baby.