Not every woman will have a natural birth. A variety of situations may require a Cesarean birth, such as prolonged labor, the baby’s distress or some other medical condition that necessitates it. Moreover, some women choose to deliver via C-section after exploring the options with their obstetricians. In fact, no less than one out of every four women undergo a C-section.
If it looks as though you will be one of those women, you need to understand that this is a major surgery, and it does come with some significant risks. If anything goes wrong, you and/or your baby could suffer serious harm.
The risks associated with a C-section
In addition to needing to remain in the hospital longer and spending more time recovering, you or your baby face the risks listed below if you undergo a C-section:
- You will naturally lose more blood during this procedure, but it could reach the point where you require a transfusion or suffer from anemia.
- You could end up with an infection. If doctors do not properly and quickly treat that infection, you could end up suffering from sepsis, which could become life-threatening.
- You could experience a severe adverse reaction to the anesthesia or other medications given to you after the surgery.
- Your doctor could injure your uterus, bowel, bladder or other organs during the procedure.
- You could require additional surgeries to repair damage done by your doctor during the procedure, which in turn come with their own set of risks.
- You could develop painful scar tissue in your abdominal region that could also cause blockage, which could result in complications in a future pregnancy, such as placental abruption or placenta previa.
- Your baby could suffer from respiratory and breathing problems. Babies born by C-section often require immediate medical intervention for these issues.
- Your doctor may cut or nick your baby.
- Your baby’s APGAR scores could suffer due to fetal distress, anesthesia or lack of stimulation during the birthing process.
You may not have a choice but to submit to this surgical procedure because the risks are worth taking in order to save you or your baby’s life. However, if it is something discussed prior to your labor and delivery, you may want to go over the risks with your obstetrician, along with why he or she feels it would be the better choice over a vaginal delivery.
If something does go wrong during your C-section, you may want to determine whether it resulted from a surgical error or a mistake in your care afterward. If it turns out that you did not receive the standard of care you deserved, it may be worthwhile to explore your legal options.