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Health Implications of Increased Rates of Cesarean Section Deliveries

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Cesarean section is a process of delivering the baby from the pregnant woman. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Khushbu

Published At November 9, 2023
Reviewed AtNovember 9, 2023

Introduction:

Cesarean section is a process used to deliver the baby by cutting through the wall of the mother’s abdomen. It is also called a C-section, done by surgical incisions in the abdomen to the uterus. It is done if there are certain complications in pregnancy. The most common cause for a c -section is when the labor is not progressing (labor dystocia). It involves labor progression in the first stage (prolonged dilation or opening of the cervix) or the second stage (prolonged time of pushing after complete cervical dilation). Over the past three decades, the rates of cesarean deliveries increased all over the world. Cesarean deliveries effectively reduce maternal and neonatal complications during complicated pregnancies. In another way, cesarean deliveries can cause permanent complications; if it is not recommended, it may also cause death.

What Are Cesarean Section Deliveries?

Cesarean section is a surgical procedure that is performed to make babies' deliveries easier in a complicated pregnancy. It is done by making an incision on the female abdomen and uterus. It is suggested when there is risk in normal vaginal deliveries for mother and child. C-sections can be life-saving for both fetus and mother or both in certain cases. In certain cases where a surgical procedure is not recommended, C-sections can cause permanent complications and even death.

What Are the Complications Of Cesarean Section Deliveries?

C-sections come with a higher risk of complications, such as:

  • Uterine Rupture - Uterine rupture is a serious medical condition that occurs when the muscular walls of the uterus tear or separate.

  • Placenta Previa - Placenta previa is a condition that occurs during pregnancy when the placenta partially or completely covers the opening of the cervix, known as the cervical os. The placenta is a temporary organ that develops during pregnancy and provides essential nutrients and oxygen to the developing fetus through the umbilical cord.

  • Placenta Accreta - Placenta accreta is a serious pregnancy condition where the placenta becomes abnormally attached to the uterine wall, and it does not separate naturally during childbirth. Normally, after the baby is delivered, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall and is expelled from the mother's body. However, in cases of placenta accreta, the placenta remains firmly attached, which can lead to significant complications during delivery and postpartum.

These complications can lead to life-threatening situations for both the mother and the baby, necessitating additional surgical interventions and posing challenges to future pregnancies and deliveries. Moreover, the emotional and psychological impact of previous C-sections and the fear of complications in subsequent deliveries can take a toll on expectant mothers, affecting their birthing experience and decision-making process.

What Are the Health Implications Rates Of Cesarean Section Deliveries?

It is essential for healthcare providers to discuss these potential health implications with women who have undergone C-sections and help them make informed decisions about future deliveries. In some cases, vaginal birth after a cesarean (VBAC) may be a safe option, but it requires careful consideration and monitoring by medical professionals to ensure the best possible outcome for both the mother and the baby.

There are some possible complications that can be seen after cesarean section delivery as follows;-

  • Emotional Difficulties - Patients experience post-traumatic stress disorder. The feeling of failure and guilt. Patients get angry at themselves and their bodies and feel social isolation. The patient suffers from nightmares and difficulty sleeping. Every time a patient gains intrusive thoughts, focuses on childbirth memories, and suffers from depression.

  • Post-Surgery - Infection or fever after surgery usually occurs due to bacterial infection at the site of the surgical incision, such as impetigo (fluid-filled blisters that rupture and leave painful crusts), abscesses (sores filled with dead skin and pus), and cellulitis (an infection of the skin and tissues).

  • Excessive Blood Loss - In more than 5-10 % of cesarean sections, there is an excess of 1000 milliliters of blood loss called excessive hemorrhage. It occurs due to uterine atony, abnormal placentation, uterine trauma, and sepsis. It is also called a postpartum hemorrhage.

  • Reaction to Medication or Anesthesia - The medicines that reduce the chances of infection after surgery can also cause negative reactions. It can cause drowsiness, lack of appetite, and constant fatigue.

  • Scar Tissue - It is defined as the localization of a gestational sac (fluid-filled structure) in the cicatrix tissue. The scar forms in a wound during healing. If not taken care of properly, c-section scar tissue becomes tight around the lower abdomen and can be a source of pain.

  • Difficulty With Future Deliveries - Increased rates of cesarean section deliveries can have significant health implications for both mothers and babies, especially when considering future pregnancies and deliveries.

  • Increased Risk of Uterine Rupture - Women who have had a previous C-section face a higher risk of uterine rupture during subsequent pregnancies. Uterine rupture is a life-threatening complication where the scar from the previous C-section tears open during labor, potentially leading to severe bleeding and harm to the baby.

  • Injury to Organs - Cesarean section deliveries cause injury to the bladder and intestines. It causes amniotic fluid embolism (amniotic fluid or fetal material enters the maternal bloodstream). Infection and inflammation of the uterus take place. It also leads to risks in the future.

  • Emergency Hysterectomy (Removal of the Uterus) - It is done only when another treatment is not available, or the conservative treatment is failed to do. Sometimes it is done to save a mother's life. It is recommended when there is severe bleeding, abnormal placentation, or uterine atony (lacking muscular tone).

  • Blood Clot - Patients who have had a cesarean section delivery can have a risk of blood clots in the legs or lungs. Women with C-sections are more likely to develop a blood clot than those delivered vaginally.

  • Emotional and Psychological Impact - Experiencing complications during previous C-sections or facing the possibility of complications in future deliveries can lead to increased anxiety, stress, and fear in expectant mothers. This emotional burden can negatively affect the overall birthing experience and may even lead to decisions that might not be in the best interest of the mother and baby's health.

  • Impact on Newborn Health - Babies born via C-section may miss out on the beneficial bacteria and immune-boosting factors they would have been exposed to during vaginal birth. This can potentially impact the development of the baby's immune system and increase the risk of certain health conditions later in life.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the increasing rates of cesarean section deliveries have significant health implications for both mothers and babies. While C-sections can be life-saving in certain situations, the rising prevalence of elective and repeat C-sections has raised concerns about the potential risks associated with this mode of delivery. The physical consequences, such as chronic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction, can persist long after the C-section, impacting the overall quality of life. Furthermore, promoting evidence-based practices, reducing unnecessary C-sections, and improving access to prenatal care can contribute to safer pregnancies and deliveries. Emphasizing the importance of a collaborative approach between healthcare providers and expectant mothers can lead to more personalized care plans that prioritize the health and well-being of both mother and baby.

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Dr. Khushbu
Dr. Khushbu

Obstetrics and Gynecology

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