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Rate of c-sections at all time high

Earlier this week in this space we shared a story of a mother who died as a result of an error during a c-section operation and the apparent failure of the hospital and medical staff to properly diagnose the symptoms of the injury in her follow up care. This is a tragic illustration of some of the risks of c-section delivery. While it can be a necessary and even life saving procedure in some case it always carries with it a certain amount of risk.

According to a new study more mother than ever before are being exposed to these risks as the number of c-section deliveries hits an all time high. A researcher from Ohio University maintains that having 34% of deliveries performed by c-section cannot possibly be the result of medical necessity in every case.

According to the World Health Organization about 15% of births likely have a medical necessity requiring a c-section. But researchers say that a number of factors lead to the higher rate of 34%, including multiple babies, increased age of the mother and obesity. Also as more mothers are undergoing induced labor or epidural use the number of c-sections increases due to potential complications with these procedures.

Another factor is that many women and doctors simply choose to plan a c-section because they are then in more control over the timing of the birth.

While these factors may make sense in some cases it is important for doctors to ensure that the mother understands the increased risks involved in a c-section delivery and carefully balances those risks against the potential medical benefits.

Source: Today, Health "C-section rates hit all-time high, study finds" July 19, 2011

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