More woman than ever are delivering babies via cesarean section (C-section) than ever before. In fact, according to Healthline, in 2011, one in three U.S. births was born by C-section – a 60 percent increase from 1996. But while C-sections can be life-saving in some situations, medical experts are warning that the rapid increase in C-section rates in the United States indicates that the procedure is “overused without clear evidence of improved maternal or newborn outcomes.”
Earlier this year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) released a new consensus guideline urging women and their doctors to be more patient during labor instead of rushing to a surgical delivery. Moreover, the two organizations called on physicians, organizations, and governing bodies to conduct research that provides additional information to guide decisions about C-section delivery and to encourage policy changes that would safely lower the rate of C-sections as a primary delivery method.
According to a press release issued by the organizations:
“Evidence now shows that labor actually progresses slower than we thought in the past, so many women might just need a little more time to labor and deliver vaginally instead of moving to a cesarean delivery,” said Aaron B. Caughey, MD, a member of The College’s Committee on Obstetric Practice who helped develop the new recommendations. “Most women who have had a cesarean with their first baby end up having repeat cesarean deliveries for subsequent babies, and this is what we’re trying to avoid. By preventing the first cesarean delivery, we should be able to reduce the nation’s overall cesarean delivery rate.”
While C-sections must be performed in a timely manner when necessary, it is important to remember that C-sections are a major surgery, during which the mother is given an anesthesia so that the baby can be delivered through an incision in the belly. As with any major surgery, there are significant risks involved. For instance, some babies are affected adversely by the anesthesia and other babies have more breathing difficulties than those babies who born vaginally. A C-section can also present risks to the mother, such as increased bleeding, infection, blood clots, and placenta problems in subsequent pregnancies.
Conversely, if the obstetrician, treating doctor, or medical staff fails to perform a timely C-section when necessary, there could be an increased likelihood of fetal distress and oxygen deprivation, which can result in brain injuries such as cerebral palsy. Accordingly, it is important that doctors use the appropriate level of care when determining whether to deliver a baby by C-section.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you suspect that you were subjected to an unnecessary C-section – or, alternatively, your doctor failed to perform a timely C-section – and you or your child were injured as a result, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney about a possible legal claim. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC focus on representing the victims of medical malpractice, including children and mothers who were injured as a result of an unnecessary or untimely C-section.