Cesarean delivery, also known as a ‘C-section’, is associated with a higher risk of maternal death, according to one recent study.
Jeffrey Chapa, M.D., a maternal-fetal medicine expert at Cleveland Clinic, did not take part in the study, but said the risks were varied for women based on their age.
“They found that there was a greater risk for significant maternal morbidity, post-delivery, for women who had a C-section, versus those who had a vaginal delivery, and this was predominately the greatest in women who were 35 years and older.”
The study also showed women who had C-sections during labor had better outcomes than the women who had planned C-sections.
Dr. Chapa cautions women from fearing a necessary C-section delivery based on the results of this study.
He said, often times, women who have planned C-sections, have them planned because of other underlying health issues, which already puts them at a higher risk for complications.
Also, he notes the risks for certain complications increase as women reach their late thirties.
However, he said that a woman’s overall health, and how she takes care of herself, are the key factors for a healthy pregnancy.
In some cases, Dr. Chapa said there are lifestyle changes women can make to reduce the likelihood of having complications or the need for a C-section.
“Getting in good shape, even before pregnancy, through exercise, changing diet, losing weight – if you need to – all of these things are helpful in reducing pregnancy complications, and also reducing the likelihood that you would need to have a cesarean section,” he said.
Dr. Chapa said it’s important for women to take an active role and talk with their doctors about all of their options for a safe and healthy delivery.
Complete results of the study can be found in Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
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