Advertisement

The Downside of Elective C-Sections for Mother & Child

The Downside of Elective C-Sections for Mother & Child

Singer -- and The Voice judge -- Christina Aguilera scheduled an elective Cesarean procedure during her 37 th week of pregnancy in 2008 when she gave birth to her first child Max. She’s not alone. Almost 27% of all births in the U.S. are C-sections in low-risk situations such as Aguilera’s. (Low risk is defined as single births, with babies in a good position, at 37 or more weeks of gestation.)

And although C-sections can be life-saving for women and newborns, doctors are trying to reduce the use of elective C-sections. Two studies show why.

Besides the risks associated with surgery and anesthesia for both mother and baby (repeated fetal anesthesia exposure is a long-term risk to a baby’s brain development), a National Vital Statistics Report shows that mothers need transfusions for C-sections at more than three times the rate of vaginal births; intensive care admissions were almost six time higher for first-time cesarean deliveries; and by far the highest rates of ruptured uterus and unplanned hysterectomy occur with repeat cesarean deliveries.

Plus, a study from New York University shows, the child may be at increased risk for type 1 diabetes (up 19%), asthma (up 1.6%) and obesity (up 3.6%) later in life, perhaps because the child doesn’t pass through the vaginal canal -- where a newborn picks up important bacteria for a healthy gut biome and immune system. So before scheduling an elective C-section, make sure you talk with your doctor about all of the risks and benefits for you and your child.

Medically reviewed in July 2019.

A Healthy Pregnancy Starts Before Conception
A Healthy Pregnancy Starts Before Conception
The Midas myth is a powerful allegory: A man can turn everything he touches into gold—but will starve to death since he cannot eat gold. The U.S. is o...
Read More
If I'm pregnant in the Southeast U.S., how do I prevent getting Zika virus?
Baptist Health South FloridaBaptist Health South Florida
If you are pregnant in the Southeast U.S., you can prevent getting Zika virus by not traveling to ar...
More Answers
Should You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in Mind
Should You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in MindShould You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in MindShould You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in MindShould You Hire a Doula? 10 Things to Keep in Mind
Though only six percent of women hire them to help with pregnancy, doulas offer real benefits.
Start Slideshow
When Is the Proper Time to Tell Your Child They Have a Sibling On the Way?
When Is the Proper Time to Tell Your Child They Have a Sibling On the Way?