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The risks associated with a C-section delivery

A cesarean section is a surgical procedure in which the obstetrician makes incisions in the abdomen and uterus of a pregnant woman during labor to deliver her baby. There are certain risks associated with C-sections, and expecting mothers in North Carolina might want to be aware of them whether or not they plan to have one.

Some of the risks that mothers may be most concerned about are those to the baby, which include surgical injury and breathing problems. Surgical injury is rare but could occur as the obstetrician is making the incision in the uterus. It is also more common for transient tachypnea to develop in babies delivered via a C-section than through vaginal birth. This is a condition that causes babies to breathe rapidly during the few days after birth. The risk of more breathing problems could increase when the procedure is done before the lungs reach maturity or before 39 weeks of pregnancy.

Expecting mothers might also be concerned about the potential risks to them, such as increased bleeding, infection and inflammation in the uterus lining, and infection around the site of incision. There can also be a risk of an injury to nearby organs that might require additional surgery. Other C-section risks for the mother are anesthesia reactions, such as severe headache for a few days after delivery blood clots in the pelvic organs or legs that may travel to the lungs and which could cause life-threatening damage, and increased risk for pregnancy complications in the future, such as placenta problems, uterine rupture and bleeding.

When a baby or woman suffers an injury during a C-section delivery because of the negligence of a health care practitioner, there could be a case for medical malpractice. The mother or both of the baby's parents may look for support from a lawyer to protect their rights and seek compensation.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Risks", accessed on Feb. 5, 2015

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