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Are C-section deliveries really safer than vaginal?

When a Pennsylvania pregnant woman anticipates giving birth, she may assume that she will deliver the "old-fashioned" or natural way -- vaginally. After all, Cesarean sections (C-section) are reserved only for emergencies, right? Actually, not always.

These days, almost 32 percent of all deliveries in the United States are C-section deliveries. Back in 1996, only 20.7 were C-section deliveries. As such, C-sections are becoming routine. However, unless a risk condition is in place, C-sections may be less safe for women than a vaginal delivery.

For example, if a woman gets a C-section, it is likely she will need to stay in the hospital for a longer period and will have a longer recovery period than if she delivered vaginally. Moreover, when compared to having a vaginal delivery, a woman who has a C-section is twice as likely to suffer an infection that requires hospitalization. When compared to women who underwent vaginal deliveries, women who underwent planned C-sections were 23 times more likely to be re-admitted to the hospital within 30 days.

There were also significant risks associated with repeat C-sections. For example, the risk of developing placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta covers the women's cervix, either partially or in whole, or placenta accrete, a condition in which the placenta attaches to the woman's uterine muscles, rather than the woman's uterine lining, were more likely when a woman had uterine scarring from a prior C-section. Both placenta previa and placenta accrete can cause the woman to suffer life-threatening hemorrhaging during the labor process or after having given birth.

Despite all of this, many medical professionals still advise or even insist on subsequent C-section deliveries, if a woman's first child was born via C-section. In fact, 91 percent of women whose underwent a C-section for their first delivery wound up undergoing C-sections for future deliveries, even if a vaginal delivery would have been possible.

As this shows, while sometimes C-sections are necessary to save the life of the woman or baby, women should not be coerced by a doctor into getting an unnecessary C-section. If she is, and ends up suffering from complications that could have been prevented, but for the act of OB/GYN negligence, then she may want to determine whether she can take legal action for this or other pregnancy-related injuries.

Source: FitPregnancy.com, "Why You Don't Want a C-Section," accessed on March 25, 2017

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