According to research from 150 countries, almost 20% of all births occur by C-sections worldwide. While the World Health Organisation recommends that this rate should not be higher than 10 to 15% many countries still surpass this recommendation. In fact, Latin America and the Caribbean region have the highest Cesarean rates (40,5%), followed by Northern America (32,3%), Europe (25%), and Asia (19,2%).
We can’t deny the benefits of a C-section because it can save lives. However, the procedure is also a choice. Without a pressing medical reason, moms may elect to have a C-section instead of a vaginal delivery. In an attempt to lower their C-section delivery rate, Brazil’s new pro-natural birth initiative now requires doctors to inform women about all the risks associated with C-section births. Plus, moms also have to sign a consent form before the operation will be performed. So, what are the pros and cons of this technique? Read on to know more about the benefits and risks of C-section.
The Risks of C-sections
Doctors usually schedule a C-section between 7 to 10 days before the due date, around 39 weeks. This gives your baby the longest possible time in utero, without running the risk of mom going into labor in the middle of the night. Occasionally, delivery is scheduled earlier for medical reasons. But, there’s also a small chance that the due date might have been miscalculated and that your baby may be born prematurely.
Higher Risk of Baby Breathing Issues
Babies breathe amniotic fluid in and out of their lungs in utero, which is important for the normal development of the lungs. However, after birth babies must start to breathe air. And, this is more difficult if there’s still a lot of fluid in the lungs. During a vaginal delivery, babies are pushed out and the pressure of contractions helps to expel fluid from the lungs. The chemical and hormonal changes that occur during labor cause babies to stop breathing in amniotic fluid and the fluid that is there gets absorbed leaving the lungs drier at birth. C-section babies may retain more fluid in their lungs.
Other possible c-section risks include:
- Infection of your wound or the lining of the womb
- Bleeding that leads to a blood transfusion
- Problems in future pregnancies
- Heart attack
- C-section scars
The Benefits of a C-sections
Having C-sections when medically required, are lifesaving for moms and babies. Although you body still has to recovery after a C-sections, most of the risks from any of those medical problems will not affect you during labor. Doctors will advice C-section birth if the following are indicated:
- Baby is breached
- Placenta praevia
- Prolonged labor
- Difficult delivery anticipated
- Hypertension risk to mommy or baby
- Multiple births
- Prolapsed cord
- Active herpes or HIV
Also, doing this method can lower the pain during and after birth. And, you don’t have to worry about any damage to your vagina too.
In the case of a planned C-section, the medical team is booked in advance. A pediatrician will be on hand to assess the baby. If there are particular risks or concerns, appropriate medical specialists will be present. Some women opt for ‘spontaneous labor C-sections’, waiting to go into labor before having a C-section. This is less predictable, as it may be the middle of the night and the preferred medical team might be unavailable. On top of that, unplanned emergency procedures also do have a higher complication rate compared with elective procedures.
Lower Risk of Oxygen Deprivation
During labor, various factors can reduce the amount of oxygen transferred to babies. So, if the unborn baby isn’t getting enough oxygen during labor, an emergency C-section will be scheduled for fetal distress.
Cesarean deliveries are on the rise across the globe especially those performed when not medically necessary. This is mostly because most moms are afraid of the delivery experience, the pain. After all, sometimes the natural way is still the better way. So, you should only consider C-section when it’s really needed. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments!