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How Does C-section Delivery Affect The Mother's Health?

The options for childbirth are diverse. The most common types of delivery include vaginal delivery, C-section, VBAC, and assisted vaginal delivery. Caesarean delivery, also called a C-section or caesarean section, refers to the surgical procedure of delivering a child - the mother's abdomen and uterus are cut in two separate parts [1].

C-sections are common among women who have already had a C-section. However, it is not always obvious whether a C-section is necessary until after labour has begun.

Why Is A C-Section Performed?

A woman may request a C-section when she gives birth to her first child for a number of reasons, such as avoidance of labor or the possibility of complications with a vaginal birth, or because she wishes to schedule the delivery time in advance [2].

C-sections may be recommended by health care providers in the following circumstances [3]:

  • The labour process is not proceeding as expected.
  • It appears that the baby is in distress.
  • The baby or babies are in an unusual position.
  • There are multiple babies in your womb.
  • There's a problem with the placenta.
  • Umbilical cord prolapse.
  • There is a health concern, such as a heart or brain problem.
  • An obstruction has occurred.
  • You have had a previous C-section or other uterine surgery.

What Are The Advantages Of A C-Section?

In the case of a first-time c-section, you might be less likely to experience the following [4]:

  • Birth pains
  • Vaginal injury
  • Lack of control over the bladder
  • The uterus, vagina, bowel, or bladder are protruding through the wall of the vagina (pelvic organ prolapse).

Despite the fact that these may still occur, your risk is lower than if you had given birth vaginally.

How Does A C-section Delivery Affect The Health Of The Mother?

The caesarean section (CS) may be a life-saving procedure when medically warranted, but it can also negatively impact both women and children's health in the short- and long-term.

Short-term effects of caesarean delivery:

  • Compared to vaginal delivery, CS has a higher prevalence of maternal mortality and morbidity [5].
  • CS is associated with an increased risk of uterine rupture, abnormal placentation, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, and pre-term birth, and these risks increase with dose.
  • The short-term risks associated with CS include altered immune development, an increased risk of allergies, atopy, and asthma, and a reduced diversity of intestinal gut microbiomes.

Long-term effects of caesarean delivery:

  • There is a frequently reported association between the use of cs and a greater incidence of late childhood obesity and asthma. Why this increased risk exists is unclear [6].
  • A growing body of evidence indicates that babies born by caesarean section experience different hormonal, physical, bacterial, and medical exposures that can subtly affect their physiology at birth.

Does Getting C-section Affect Future Pregnancies?

In most cases, women who have had a previous c-section will have no problems with future pregnancies. C-sections, however, can increase the risk of developing a low-lying placenta, placenta accreta, or damage to the uterine wall [7][8].

On A Final Note...

When you're healthy and fit, there are very few risks involved in giving birth vaginally or by c-section. You can schedule a birth planning appointment with a doctor or midwife to discuss your future birth options. During this meeting, you'll be able to discuss your medical and pregnancy history and decide what's best for you.

Story first published: Tuesday, January 17, 2023, 15:43 [IST]
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