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Is that C-Section Necessary? Assessing the Need for the Risky, Overprescribed Procedure

The Becker Law Firm, LPA

In recent years, cesarean sections (c-sections) have become somewhat controversial. To many, c-sections have been decried as an overprescribed, risky procedure used by doctors and hospitals to simply increase their billable charges.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the c-section rate nationwide increased more than four-fold in a little less than 20 years, rising from 5.5 percent in 1970 to 24.7 percent in 1988. Today, nearly one in four pregnant women now have a cesarean.

A c-section, while at times is a life-saving intervention for both mother and child, carries risks of harm, particularly to the mother, if the practice is performed outside of certain well-defined medical situations. C-sections, like any abdominal surgery, should not be performed unless medically necessary. However, nonetheless, data seems to show the procedures are still happening on a frequent basis.

What is a C-Section?

A c-section is an alternative birthing method used by doctors. In a c-section, the baby is not delivered by the traditional vaginal means, but through an incision made by the doctor in the abdomen of the mother. The physician makes the incision, removes, the baby, and stitches up the womb.

What are C-Section Complications?

The dangers of a c-section lie in the location of the incision (the lower abdomen near other vital organs surrounding the uterus). The complications for the mother from a c-section include:

  • Risk of increased bleeding from the incision
  • Threat of infection, especially in hospitals where antibiotic-resistant staph infections exist
  • Negative reactions to drugs or anesthesia used during the procedure
  • Potential for blood clots after the surgery

When is a C-section Recommended?

In some cases c-sections are helpful and can even be life-saving procedures for a baby; such as when a baby suffers from what is known as fetal distress.

Fetal distress is a broad term that is used to describe a situation where the baby’s heart rate is abnormal. This type of stress on the baby can result in potential development of cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation or nerve damage during a difficult birth. In these circumstances, a doctor or hospital staff’s failure to act quickly enough could be grounds for medical malpractice.

If you or your baby has suffered injuries due to complications from labor or birth, speaking with an experienced birth injury lawyer is recommended. Your attorney can speak with you about your situation and assess potential options available under the law.

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