Cesarean Section: What Are the Associated Risks?


The natural baby delivery is through vaginal birth, but when there are worries for any complications, caesarean sections are carried to avoid risks. Though, it is recommended by doctors to have vaginal births when everything is natural.

As defined by medical dictionary “a cesarean section is a surgical procedure in which incisions are made through a woman’s abdomen and uterus to deliver her baby”. In USA, the rate of c-sections has risen up to 60% since 1996.

In general cesarean section is safe and can save life of the new born and mother, but sometimes it is risky and can lead to some health complications. Among these problems is the pulmonary embolism which is “an obstruction of a blood vessel in lungs, usually due to a blood clot, which blocks a coronary artery.”

A recently published study stated that “pulmonary embolism is one of the major life-threatening emergencies that can occur before, during, or after parturition or caesarean section.” Researchers of this study carried in Nanjing University, China, come to a conclusion that pulmonary embolism can be “possible condition for patients who show shortness of breath, lower oxygen saturation, chest pain, etc after Caesarean section.”

Another research carried at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York showed that cesarean delivery can be associated with different risks that could be short or long term or risks related to future pregnancies or to the newborn.

This study for instance explained that on the short term “the risk of maternal death during childbirth is greater with cesarean delivery compared with vaginal delivery, although very low. A study that examined births between 1983 and 1992 in the Netherlands found that the risk of maternal death was 0.04 per 1000 vaginal births compared with 0.53 per 1000 cesarean deliveries” stated in the research.

For risks related to the new born, the same study stated that “babies both born by planned as well as unplanned cesarean deliveries had a nearly 4-fold risk of dying before discharge compared with those delivered vaginally.” Researchers also expressed other risks such as Trauma, and risks to respiratory difficulties such as asthma.

Also this research carried in Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru found that infants born through c-sections may have risk of obesity in childhood. The study results “suggest a higher probability of developing obesity, but not overweight, among children born by Caesarean section delivery.”

In turn, this study explained that multiple repeat cesarean deliveries can be associated with maternal morbidity. The research concluded that “the number of intended pregnancies should be considered during counseling regarding elective repeat cesarean operation versus a trial of labor and when debating the merits of elective primary cesarean delivery…because serious maternal morbidity increases progressively with increasing number of cesarean deliveries.”

When a woman gives birth the natural way, she automatically avoids all the pain and risks related to surgery including for instance bleeding, infections…etc. Another logical reason is that a woman who underwent surgery may take longer time to breastfeed her baby, unlike the woman that has a vaginal delivery.