Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Risks of a cesarean (a Major Abdominal Surgery), and ways to prevent it

In my paperwork it says under plan for cesarean: Patient was advised there is a risk including, but not limited to, potential for anesthetic complications, bleeding, transfusion of blood or blood products, infection, possibility of damage to bowel, bladder, blood vessels, nerves, or other structures.  

Some other risks include: a higher risk of maternal mortality, scar tissue can form inside the pelvic area which increases the risks for placenta previa or placental abruption during pregnancy, having one cesarean puts a woman at risk for other surgeries such as hysterectomy, bladder repair, or repeat cesareans.

There are also risks to the baby such as: premature birth if the due date was not correct and a cesarean was scheduled, an increased risk for respiratory problems, lower apgar scores, and the possibility that the baby can be cut by the knife used for the incision

Please go to http://www.americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/cesareanrisks.html
for more details on the risks of cesareans.

Normally when you read the possible side effects of a drug or procedure it is listed as occurring rarely.  Please be aware that some of these side effects in cesareans ARE NOT that rare.  I'm not trying to scare anyone, and I am thankful for cesarean in certain situations, but these are very serious complications that should be known before a decision is made.  Please do your research, and make an educated decision before you are put in this position.  If you are not planning a cesarean you should still make yourself aware of the possibilities.  The cesarean rate in the United States is 33%.  This means that 1 in every 3 women having babies are by cesarean.  Those are high odds.  

Here are some ways that you can prevent a cesarean: 
1. Find a provider who still believes in vaginal birth!  Find someone who agrees with you and your wishes for your birth.  Ask them what there cesarean rate is, and if its over 15% you might want to rethink your options.
2. Get Educated!  This is really really important.  Read as much as you can about childbirth, all the options for pain relief (natural and medical) and find out the risks, read birth stories.
3. Learn about positions that you can use during labor to help turn a baby into the right position or help speed up progression.
4. Find good support!  Having your partner or a family member there can be very comforting, but not always helpful because they are not used to seeing you in pain or uncomfortable.  Hiring a trained labor assistant (doula) can be very beneficial for natural pain relieving techniques, ways to progress labor, to help you understand what each medical procedure is, and to help you use your voice during your labor so that you can be active in the decision making process.  A doula can also help your partner or family member be active in giving you comfort during your labor.  Studies have shown that having a doula decreases the risk for cesareans by over 25%.  

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