More Women are Opting for C-Sections. What are the Risks?
Although medical technology has made incredible strides over the past century and even the past decade, giving birth can still have fatal complications for a mother or her baby. In fact, according to the WHO, the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world and has actually seen an increase in its maternal mortality ratio from 1990 to 2013. One contributing factor to the number of women injured and killed by childbirth is the increased tendency of women to seek cesarian sections, or c-sections. A Cesarian section is a surgical procedure done to deliver a baby. Although they are sometimes medically necessary, electing to have a Cesarian section when it is not medically necessary can put the mother at risk of infection, hemorrhaging, and injury to other organs. Sometimes, physicians suggest this procedure despite the risks outweighing the benefits to the patient. When an inappropriate procedure for the patient's condition is performed and the patient suffers from a worsened condition or a new condition, the patient may seek compensation for their damages through a medical malpractice claim<.When is a C-Section Medically Necessary?
Although they have their risks, Cesarian sections are sometimes medically necessary. A few scenarios where this is the case include:
- Multiple births, especially births of twins that share an amniotic sac or the birth of three or more fetuses;
- A projected birth weight of nine pounds or more;
- A maternal condition that can be aggravated by labor, such as heart disease;
- A condition with the fetus that can make vaginal birth dangerous, such as spina bifida;
- The fetus is in a position other than head-down; and
- The mother has an infection such as Herpes or HIV that can be passed to the infant through vaginal delivery.
For mothers, the following risks are associated with c-sections:
- Infection after the surgery;
- Injury to organs other than the uterus, such as the bladder, during surgery;
- Heavy blood loss;
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs;
- Bowel problems; and
- In rare cases, death.
Women who deliver their babies by Cesarian can sometimes face other risks later in life, especially if they become pregnant again or give birth to another child. These risks include the rupture of the incision scar and problems with the placenta of a subsequent pregnancy.
Cesarian sections can have risks for infants, too. Risks that infants delivered by c-section face include:
- Injury during delivery;
- Immature lungs and problems with the respiratory system. This can occur of the baby's due date was miscalculated and he or she was delivered before 39 weeks of gestation; and
- Other issues that require time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Statewide, in California, the c-section rate was 26.5 percent in 2014, down from 27.4 percent the year prior. California hospitals are working toward their goal of a rate of 23.9 percent for low-risk pregnancies by 2020. This data was collected from 244 hospitals and included only births to first-time mothers with low-risk pregnancies, defined as pregnancies that reached at least the 37th week and contained only one fetus in a head-down position. Of the hospitals surveyed, the top 10 percent had a c-section rate for these mothers of 19 percent or lower. The bottom 10 percent had a c-section rate of 33 percent or higher.
If you or your partner are currently pregnant, talk with your doctor about the possibility of having a Cesarian section when your child is born. Discuss in detail why this procedure could be necessary in your particular case and if it is deemed to be necessary, how to minimize your risk of facing complications with it.Work with an Experienced San Jose Birth Injury Lawyer
A birth injury can potentially leave a child disabled for the rest of his or her life. Even in less extreme cases, birth injuries can cause a child and his or her parents to suffer significant emotional and financial damages. If your child suffered an injury because of inappropriate medical advice you received before he or she was born or because of negligence during his or her birth, you could be entitled to receive compensation for your damages through a medical malpractice claim. To learn more, schedule your initial legal consultation with a member of our team of San Jose medical malpractice lawyers at Corsiglia, McMahon, & Allard, LLP. Our office is in San Jose and we proudly serve clients throughout the Bay Area, San Mateo County, Alameda County, San Benito County, Monterey County, and Santa Clara County.