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Survey Warns Of Unnecessary Delivery Interventions, Part 2

Our last post introduced a survey from Childbirth Connection. Based on responses from 2,400 new mothers, the researchers concluded that far too many doctors are using potentially dangerous intervention procedures that may not be medically necessary.

One big concern that emerges from this research is that one unnecessary intervention can lead to more, effectively derailing what could be a relatively uneventful delivery. The researchers cited one statistic to show how this works. Seventy-five percent of first-time deliveries involve induced labor with an epidural.

While this number alone is concerning, a third of those first-time mothers also required an unplanned c-section. Compared with the mothers who did not undergo an induction, the induced deliveries involved a "six-fold increased risk for surgery."

In the words of one of the experts behind the study, "our survey suggests that pregnant women need to take a more active role to make sure they get the care that is best for themselves and their babies. They need access to trustworthy information about the benefits and harms of interventions."

Perhaps a better answer is that we should be holding doctors accountable for ignoring well-established medical guidelines regarding safe and effective deliveries. Inductions and other intervention procedures raise the risk of a serious birth injury for mother or infant-when this occurs unnecessarily, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Pregnant? Watch out for unnecessary c-sections and other questionable medical procedures," Joel Keehn, May 8, 2013

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