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Higher Death Rate May Make Women Think Twice Before Scheduling a C-Section

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A report in this month’s issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology says that c-section births are more than 300% more fatal to mothers than vaginal births. The study indicates that the increased risk of death is related to the increased risks of anesthesia, puerperal infection, and venous thromboembolism. Previous studies comparing the two methods of birth have been inconclusive at best.

The researchers, in this study, compared obstetrical factors in 65 pregnant women who died following delivery between 1996 and 2000 and 10,244 control subjects who safely delivered in 1998. The analysis found that women who delivered by c-section were 3.6-times more likely to die than those who delivered vaginally. Medical malpractice, Anesthesia complications, puerperal infection, and venous thromboembolism were all factors into the increased mortality rate.

C-section deliveries are also known as cesarean section deliveries. In a c-section delivery an incision is made in the mother’s stomach and uterus. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 1 in 3 babies in the United States is delivered by cesarean section. C-section deliveries are most often performed when the mother or the baby encounter serious problems before or during labor and delivery. 

However, some health care experts believe that many of the c-sections deliveries performed today are medically unnecessary. They argue that a c-section delivery is major surgery and should be done only when the health of the mother or baby is at serious risk. In recent years many expecting mothers have opted for “elective” c-section deliveries. Elective c-sections have become a controversial medical topic.

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