C-sections are on the rise with every birth taking place in the United States. This procedure is meant to ease prolonged labors and the damaging effects. One in every three times an American mother gives birth, it happens via C-section. While C-sections are relied upon so much, it is a potentially dangerous procedure that can lead to complicated and dangerous implications for your child, including a possible birth injury. Before you engage with a doctor to determine the best course of action for your pregnancy, here’s some information about what makes C-sections such a popular yet risky procedure.
What Started C-Sections in the Delivery Room?
C-sections have become integral procedures used by doctors since ancient times, both in western and non-western cultures. In the U.S, C-sections date back to the early 19th century when the first recorded procedure was made, in 1830. In this case, Dr. John L. Richmond went to the rural home of an Ohio family, determining that the method was the best way to deliver the baby.
Throughout the 1800s, many doctors were adamant on delivering babies as naturally as possible, using C-sections as a last resort that should only be administered in dire circumstances. However, when the 20th century came along, doctors shifted their mindsets. Greater emphasis was placed on saving the child and mother’s lives at all costs. This thinking was further facilitated with medical advances as well as a growing concern over infant mortality rates.
Why Are C-sections So Popular?
For one, the ages of women getting pregnant have increased over time. As a result, each older mother is at higher risk of having pregnancy complications due to compromising medical situations such as high blood pressure and diabetes. These conditions make them likelier candidates for C-sections. Furthermore, advanced fertility treatments have led to more twins being born, and any mother who has twins has a greater need for a C-section.
Though medical professionals encourage women to have a vaginal birth when delivering, there is an increasing level of dialogue between mothers and doctors about the potential course of action in the months leading up to birth. Though it can be tricky, many doctors are recommending C-sections to be performed, even in situations where it’s not necessary. Doctors will recommend C-sections due to:
- Fetal or maternal risks
- Failed cervix dilation
- Fetal distress
- Fetal macrosomia
- The baby being in the breech position (feet or bottom-first)
- The mother having placenta previa
Why Are There So Many C-sections Happening in the U.S.?
Worldwide, C-sections are happening at around a 19% rate, which is a relatively low rate. As mentioned, one in every three (33%) American births are done via C-sections. That is a drastic increase from 1970 when C-sections were used to induce births just 5% of the time. In 1996, that figure was at 20%, showing how C-sections have grown from a last resort into a highly-suggested alternative by American doctors.
As C-sections have grown in prominence, the maternal and infant mortality rates in the United States continue to increase. In the past two decades, the maternal rate has climbed to 14 deaths per 100,000 live births. According to the World Bank, that is a considerably higher number than other developed countries such as neighbors to the north, Canada, and Germany and the United Kingdom. The infant mortality rate has also grown to grim new heights, with six infant deaths happening for every 1,000 live births. Countries such as Japan, Portugal, and the Czech Republic, by comparison, have infant mortality rates half as high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Technology is also raising more alarms during labor. Continuous fetal monitoring has become the norm, tracking a baby’s vital statistics when a pregnant mother enters the emergency room. The problem is that such monitoring hasn’t yielded definitive readings. This technology prompts C-sections for situations where the baby’s heart rate is higher or lower than normal, though it is not in distress.
Obstetricians and technology aren’t the only reasons C-sections have risen nationwide, though. If you’re a pregnant mother, you yearn for as much control as you can get. C-sections may become a more plausible option for you if you want more control over the timing or other concerns of your delivery, relying on other methods rather than waiting to deliver your baby naturally. That is if you’re prepared to handle the risks.
Are C-Sections Safe?
They can be. You will be under anesthesia and won’t feel any pain during C-sections, though you may feel pulling and pressure along the way.
However, maternal and birth injury possibilities are numerous with C-sections, even more so if they aren’t administered when they should be or are delayed. C-sections are major surgeries that require extended recovery time, usually several weeks. During C-sections, surgeons will cut into tissue and muscle layers in your abdomen, exposing you to major infections, blood clots, as well as future, prolonged bladder and bowel issues.
While C-sections can prevent a birth injury, its intricate nature can cause a subsequent birth injury once administered. C-sections have caused birth injury types such as fetal lacerations, cuts, scrapes, and other marks suffered, which could lead to more severe health conditions. C-sections and their after-effects have also triggered birth injury variations from Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, and other issues.
Contacting Legal Help After a Birth Injury
The Safe Birth Project is here to help your birth injury case that was caused by medical malpractice. Birth injury and general medical malpractice cases are involved and demand much evidence. Having an experienced lawyer who specializes in these cases is paramount. He or she should be collecting medical records, witness information, and more. Your lawyer will prove the birth injury was caused by negligence and that you deserve financial compensation. With the Safe Birth Project, you’re taking the first step towards rebuilding your life.
Reach out to the Safe Birth Project for reliable legal help with a case involving C-sections or other birth injuries.