According to a study, planned caesarean sections pose no greater threat than vaginal deliveries for mother or child.
NHS doctors usually only perform the main procedure when it is seen as the safest option as it carries several risks.
But Canadian researchers have now challenged the claims, finding that it could be even better for expectant mothers and their babies.
Ottawa University scientists leafed through records of 422,000 births, including 2,000 in which expectant mothers opted for a c-section.
They counted how many were admitted to the intensive care unit and compared mortality rates between the two groups.
The results showed that women who chose to have a caesarean section were at no greater risk, and indicated that the expectant mothers and their babies may be even better off.
Around 700,000 babies are born in the UK each year, a quarter of them from caesarean sections. The procedure accounts for a similar proportion of births in the United States.
C-section women and their babies are no more likely to experience poor outcomes than women who choose to have a vaginal delivery (inventory).
WHAT IS CDMR?
Some expectant mothers request a caesarean section before giving birth.
Doctors call this a maternal caesarean delivery or CDMR.
The benefits of vaginal delivery are well known, including the need to not recover from surgery, reduced risk of scarring, and an improved microbiome for the baby.
However, some women still request the procedure because they have concerns about childbirth, better exercising, or fear of urination or sexual problems.
According to the NHS, a caesarean section can be done for non-medical reasons once the risks have been explained by a doctor or midwife.
“If, after discussing all of the risks and reading the support offered, you still believe that vaginal delivery is not an acceptable option, you should be offered a scheduled caesarean section,” they write online.
“If your doctor is not ready to perform the surgery, he should refer you to a doctor who will do it.”
There are around 700,000 births in the UK each year, of which more than 100,000 are caesarean sections. There are 3.75 million annually in the US, including 1.25 million caesarean sections.
It is not clear how many Caesarean sections are available at the request of the mother.
The NHS guidelines argue that the usual procedure is “very safe” but involves standard surgical risks such as blood clots and infection.
Caesarean sections are usually done for medical reasons, including babies in the wrong position or the mother suffering from preeclampsia.
Because of this, it is difficult to compare different birthing methods as women are already at a higher risk.
Numerous women, often referred to as “too squeezing too squeezing”, choose to go under the knife for non-medical reasons.
Experts say that expectant mothers may choose caesarean sections because they feel they will be better cared for and will improve outcomes for both them and their baby.
This is despite the known benefits of vaginal delivery, including the need to recover from surgery and an improved microbiome for the baby.
Researchers led by Dr. Yanfang Guo, who is also part of the Ottawa Hospital Research Group, reviewed the official birth dates in Ontario, Canada, for the seven years ending in 2018.
The team recorded the number of vaginal deliveries and maternal cesarean delivery (CDMR).
Expectant mothers were checked for tears in their rectum or uterus, unexpected surgery, or required blood transfusions.
And in their babies, they looked for adverse events such as trauma, death, and heart rate issues.
There were 18,336 (4.4 percent) adverse events in pregnant women who opted for vaginal delivery compared with 37 (2 percent) in those who had a caesarean section.
Babies delivered from the vagina experienced 17,899 (4.3 percent) adverse events, while the C-section group had 34 (1.9 percent).
The results suggest that women who have a caesarean section are 50 percent less likely to have poor outcomes.
However, scientists warned that more research was needed as this figure was based on a very small sample size.
They also found that those who chose to have a vaginal delivery tended to be older and richer, as opposed to what characterizes women who chose to have CDMR.
“This analysis shows that planned CDMR is safe for low-risk pregnancies and may be associated with a lower risk of adverse delivery outcomes compared to vaginal deliveries,” the researchers said.
“While our study addresses concerns about the immediate effects of the proposed CDMR, there is a need to investigate longer-term risks, including their effects on breastfeeding and the risk of infection and respiratory disease in the child.”
They added, “Women prefer CDMR for many reasons, including the convenience of planning, fear of labor pain, perception that the quality of obstetrics is better for women with cesarean sections, and concerns about possible urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction after vaginal delivery . ‘
The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
WHAT ARE THE MEDICAL REASONS FOR THE AC SECTION?
There are a number of reasons a doctor may recommend a caesarean section rather than vaginal delivery.
If you have had complications in a previous pregnancy or childbirth, or in your current pregnancy, you may be recommended to have a so-called planned or elective caesarean section, or a planned repeated caesarean section.
If you were planning to give birth vaginally but labor or delivery complications mean that you are advised to give birth by caesarean section, you will have what is known as an unplanned or emergency caesarean section.
Here are some reasons doctors might choose a scheduled or emergency caesarean instead of a vaginal delivery:
- You have had at least one caesarean section;
- Your baby is in a bottom-down or locked position.
- Your baby is sideways (across) or is constantly changing position (unstable lie).
- You have a low-lying placenta (placenta previa);
- You have a disease such as heart disease or diabetes;
- You have lost a baby in the past either before or during labor.
- You are expecting twins or more;
- Your baby is not growing as well as it should be in your womb.
- You have severe preeclampsia or eclampsia, which makes it dangerous to delay labor.