Recent data sheds light on elective C-section debate
When Jennifer Rose envisioned giving birth to her now nine-month-old son, Carter Jackson Rose, she never expected she would be wheeled into the operating room for an emergency cesarean section after nearly eight hours of labor and her son’s life at risk.
“His heart rate kept dropping with every contraction and the nurses worried that he wasn’t getting enough oxygen,” said the 35-year-old Solana Beach resident, who later learned that her umbilical cord was wrapped around her son’s neck. “Once I heard that my baby’s life was in danger, I didn’t care what happened next.”
Rose originally planned to have a vaginal birth, but nature threw her a curveball – and a painful one at that. Rose said her C-section left her with terrible bruising and more than six weeks of recovery, which, she said, was longer than it took her to recuperate from kidney surgery in 2004.
Although Rose wasn’t prepared for her C-section – a surgery she would not have elected to do – a growing number of women around the world are choosing to have C-sections at what health officials have called “epidemic” levels.
Elective C-sections on the rise
A boom in elective C-sections is putting women’s health at risk, said World Health Organization officials in an ongoing international survey recently published in the medical journal The Lancet.
The survey revealed that C-sections have reached “epidemic proportions” in many countries across the globe. The most dramatic numbers come out of China, where 46 percent of births were by cesarean section in which a quarter of them were not medically necessary. The report goes on to say that women who underwent elective C-sections were more likely to be admitted into intensive care or encounter complications that required a blood transfusion or possibly a hysterectomy.
In the United States, one in three babies is delivered by C-section, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Of the more than 4.3 million babies born in the U.S. each year, 31.8 percent of them were delivered by C-section in 2007, a record high according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This news may compel expectant mothers to evaluate the risks of an elective (or non-emergency) C-section, which health officials consider an unnecessary surgery.
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