A new report from Public Citizen finds that one-third of cesarean sections are unnecessary and the procedures put the health of the mother a baby in jeopardy.
C-sections have become so routine we sometimes forget that they are considered major surgery in which a doctor makes an incision through the mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver a baby.
There are times a C-section is necessary such as when the baby fails to present in the birth canal, or when there is an emergency and the baby is losing oxygen. Then they can be a life saver.
But Public Citizen finds the procedure has become everyday occurrence and in recent years premature births in the U.S. have been on the rise.
Preterm birth – delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy – increases the risk of death in the first month of life.
Over 520,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. each year – that’s one in eight. Prematurity, especially those babies born sooner than 34 weeks, are associated with a wide host of health problems that include – delays in development, neurological problems, increased mortality and lower IQs.
Women requesting c-sections before 39 weeks, not based on medical necessity but for convenience, need to understand that babies born prematurely are at risk for a broad spectrum of health problems.
Part of the problem is the medical community still believes that once a woman who has had a C-section must have one for all subsequent births.
There is a very small chance that the woman who has had a C-section could rupture her uterus. Even the American college of Obstetrics and Gynecology now suggests that hospitals consider VBACS or vaginal births for C-section mothers. Those hospitals need to be equipped to respond to any emergencies associated with the VBAC. Because of the requirements for emergency equipment and that a physician be available immediately, about 28 percent of U.S. hospitals did not allow VBACs in 2009, reports Public Citizen.
So how to lower the rate of unnecessary C-sections? Raise the rate of VBACs for one. Dr. Sidney Wolfe, who directs the Public Citizen Health Research Group also suggests that women use licensed midwives instead of an obstetrician, some of whom deliver in hospitals or in homes. A midwife is much less likely to suggest a C-section.
A midwife is also less likely to induce labor or perform an episiotomy or a surgical tear. When doctors can partner with midwifes and families the best outcome is possible says Wolfe. He also suggests a birth coach or doula could be used who is also less likely to suggest a C-section.
The area of compensation is also to be considered. When a doctor performs a C-section, he is compensated for performing surgery. It also takes less time and can be scheduled, meaning it is more convenient for him. If a doctor is paid for his time on the job rather than the procedure, Wolfe says that the focus would return to the woman as priority rather that the possible financial considerations.
The bottom line is to make sure you discuss with your doctor about your preference to avoid an unnecessary cesarean sections before you are in the labor and delivery room.
If you have been the victim of an unnecessary cesarean section in Florida, please Contact a Jacksonville medical malpractice lawyer at Farah & Farah today to discuss your case.