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You are here: Home arrow News arrow October 2007 arrow Caesareans much riskier for mother and baby
Caesareans much riskier for mother and baby Print

October 2007

Babies born by Caesarean section could be over 70 per cent more likely to die than those born naturally, say researchers.

Mothers having Caesareans were also shown to be at double the risk of illness and death linked to giving birth, says a study of 94,000 women.

The report compared normal deliveries with surgical births, including both non-emergency and those where difficulties during labour necessitated a Caesarean.

But experts said last night that women should not be alarmed as it was still unclear whether there was more risk to mothers who chose in advance to have a Caesarean.

The study, published today in the British Medical Journal Online, showed Caesarean deliveries were more likely to lead to mothers having hysterectomies, blood transfusions and going into intensive care.

Furthermore, their babies had twice the risk of admission to a neonatal intensive care unit. However, the researchers did find that breech babies - those facing the wrong way in the womb - had a much higher chance of survival if they were delivered surgically.

In all, more than a third - 33,000 - of the births in the study of eight Latin American countries were Caesareans.

Of these, 13,000 were elective, where the mother or doctor had opted in advance for surgery, and 18,000 were deemed necessary during labour. Just under 2,000 were classified as emergency.

Dr Jose Villar, a senior fellow at the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Oxford, who led the study, said: "We conclude that any net benefit from the liberal use of Caesarean delivery on maternal and neonatal outcomes. . . remains to be demonstrated."

But Pat O'Brien, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaeologists, said the study was skewed as more of the Caesareans would be classified as emergency in the UK.

He said: "In the UK, 93 per cent of all elective Caesareans are for medical reasons because a doctor believes it's better and safer for mother and baby."

 
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