CLEVELAND – Cesarean delivery – also known as a ‘C-section’ is associated with a higher risk of maternal death, according to one recent study.
Jeffrey Chapa, M.D., a maternal-fetal medicine expert at Cleveland Clinic, did not take part in the study, but said the risks were varied for women based on their age.
“They found that there was a greater risk for significant maternal morbidity, post-delivery, for women who had a C-section, versus those who had a vaginal delivery, and this was predominately the greatest in women who were 35 years and older.”
The study also showed women who had C-sections during labor had better outcomes than the women who had planned C-sections.
Dr. Chapa cautions women from fearing a necessary C-section delivery based on the results of this study.
He said, often times, women who have planned C-sections, have them planned because of other underlying health issues, which already puts them at a higher risk for complications.
Also, he notes the risks for certain complications increase as women reach their late thirties.
But, Dr. Chapa said women over age 35 should not panic over these study results – as age really is just a number.
He said a woman’s overall health, and how she takes care of herself, are the key factors for a healthy pregnancy.
And in some cases, Dr. Chapa said there are lifestyle changes women can make to reduce the likelihood of having complications or the need for a C-section.
“Getting in good shape, even before pregnancy, through exercise, changing diet, losing weight – if you need to – all of these things are helpful in reducing pregnancy complications, and also reducing the likelihood that you would need to have a cesarean section,” he said.
Dr. Chapa said it’s important for women to take an active role, and talk with their doctors about all of their options for a safe and healthy delivery.
Complete results of the study can be found in Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).