Understanding the Risks and Benefits of Cesarean Delivery

Published on: January 6, 2016

Having a cesarean delivery during child birth is a fairly common procedure in the U.S., but it is not without risks to the mother and child. Although many cesarean deliveries are needed to protect either the mother or infant from harm, some cesarean deliveries are performed voluntarily. It is important to understand the risks involved in this procedure and when it is beneficial to consider this option over vaginal birth.

Risks of Cesarean Delivery

There are documented risks that are known for both the mother and child for cesarean delivery, although the same could be said for vaginal child birth as well. But compared to vaginal births, C-section deliveries require a longer recovery time for the mother, plus have the risk of infection, damage to the internal organs, blood clots, reactions to anesthesia and risks of complications during future pregnancies. Infants born through a C-section have a higher risk of respiratory problems.

Benefits of Cesarean Delivery

Although there are risks involved with cesarean delivery, they often are outweighed by the benefits for many expectant mothers. Some cesarean deliveries are planned due to known health issues, while many are performed during labor due to complications. Circumstances when a C-section may be needed include:

  • The baby is not getting enough oxygen
  • The baby or babies must be delivered prematurely due to pregnancy complications
  • Labor complications, such as abnormal baby position or umbilical cord displacement
  • Health issues with the mother, including heart problems, previous C-section or contagious infections like vaginal herpes.

Anyone who is pregnant should understand both the benefits and risks of cesarean delivery, even if they are planning a vaginal birth. Discuss this procedure with a qualified OB/GYN that specializes in performing both vaginal and C–section deliveries.

Posted on behalf of
Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.
699 Church Street #220
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 422-8505

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