Is a C-section Safer for Moms and Babies?

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Fact or Fiction? Because a planned cesarean is more predictable and controllable, it’s safer for mothers and babies.

Fiction. While cesarean surgery is a vital tool for coping with high-risk situations, it’s not safer than a vaginal birth and shouldn’t be used without a clear medical reason. Studies show that low-risk mothers who had planned cesareans are nearly three times more likely to suffer from severe complications or die than those who had vaginal births. Likewise, babies born by planned cesareans are more likely to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In one study, the chance of infant death was 1.77 per 1,000 for babies born by cesarean. By comparison, the chance of death was 0.62 per 1,000 for babies born vaginally.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

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