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RISKS OF A CESAREAN PROCEDURE

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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 cesarean delivery.

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 surgery.

  • 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 cesarean.
  • Maternal mortality: The maternal mortality rate for a cesarean is greater than with a vaginal birth.
  • Emotional reactions: Women who have a cesarean report feeling negatively about their birth experience and may have trouble with initial bonding with their baby.

 

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