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Lack of information may unsafely steer women towards C-sections

The decision to have natural child birth versus C-section delivery can be complicated, especially after a C-section has been performed in the past. New research suggests that women are making decisions regarding childbirth without the information that they need. In some instance, C-section can be more dangerous and result in medical negligence or injury.

Historically, doctors in New York and nationwide believed that once a woman had a C-section in the past, she would need to have all future births by C-section. The concern being, that the scar on the uterus would rupture during delivery. Now doctors believe that a vaginal delivery has advantages for women who have previously undergone a C-section. For one, they have a shorter hospital stay and recovery time. Women who decide on vaginal delivery are also less likely to suffer from complications, including excessive bleeding and infection.

The new research suggests that women are not aware of the benefits of vaginal delivery versus repeat C-section. Three-quarters of the women surveyed did not know that the actual risk of uterine rupture was about .5 percent to one percent chance, on average. C-section also carries a higher risk of breathing problems for newborns and a higher risk of death for mothers.

Doctors want to remind mothers who have had C-sections in the past that they should have a clear understanding of the facts and their options before making a decision. Women should know that there are risks in C-section as well as vaginal delivery. In the U.S. C-sections account for one-third of all deliveries, which experts agree is, generally, too high. Some hospitals do not even give women the option of vaginal delivery.

If you have had a C-section in the past, it is important to get the information you need to prevent medical injury. Consult with a medical professional about your options and be aware that medical malpractice during delivery could result in serious injury or fatality to a mother or fetus.

Source: Reuters, "Women lack info on labor versus repeat C-section," Amy Norton, June 22, 2012.