Study Finds C-Sections May Increase Childbirth Complications

A newly released study finds that cesarean sections are linked to increased childbirth complications. The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, compared births in 1998-99 and 2004-05 and found that, with an increase in C-sections, the need for blood transfusions leaped ninety percent and pulmonary embolisms increased fifty percent, while kidney failure, respiratory distress syndrome, shock and the need for a ventilator went up twenty percent.

Dr. Susan Meikle, co-author of the study, told the Chicago Tribune that “It was just amazing the consistency from vaginal delivery, where the rates [of complications] were lowest, to repeat Caesareans, where we saw an increase, to primary Caesarean delivery, where the increases were the highest.”

Thirty-one point one percent of pregnant women give birth by C-section, totaling over one million deliveries in 2006 alone, according to USA Today. Trade journal Reproductive Health Matters reported that the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics believes that “performing caesarean deliveries for non-medical reasons is ethically unjustified” due to increased risks for both maternal and infant health.


Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 1/09; Chicago Tribune 1/21/09; USA Today 1/21/09; Reproductive Health Matters 2004

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