Study Finds C-Sections May Increase Childbirth Complications

The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology recently published a study that found an increased risk of childbirth complications linked to birth by cesarean section.  The study compared births in 1988-89 to 2004-05, finding that the need for blood transfusions increased 90 percent and pulmonary embolisms increased 50 percent. In addition, kidney failure, respiratory distress syndrome, shock and the need for a ventilator went up 20 percent.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Dr. Susan Meikle, co-author of the study, stressed that both vaginal and C-section births have risks, and complications are still rare. The purpose of the study, she said, “is to make sure that women and families are aware of all the risks so when they make these decisions, they are making informed decisions and doctors are able to give them good information.”

This study is particularly timely because of the recent rise in women who give birth by C-section. According to USA Today, in 2006, 31.1% of pregnant women gave birth by C-section, totaling over one million deliveries.  These numbers are up 50% since 1998.  As more women give birth through C-section, studies like this are increasingly important for women’s awareness to health risks surrounding pregnancy.

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