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The Many Ignored Risks of C-Sections

If you know a young mother who doesn't fully appreciate the health risks that can harm her and her baby when she opts for a cesarean section, two new studies may convince her.

Among Canadian women who chose from the start to deliver their babies via cesarean, the number of severe complications they experienced was triple that of moms who delivered their children vaginally. That makes sense, considering the rate of cesarean births in Canada is almost equal to American numbers. The common problems associated with these "low-risk" procedures: Infections, blood clots and major bleeding.

A second study, comparing the health outcomes among some 36,000 mothers, found women who chose a C-section birth suffered a host of unintended consequences, including prolonged labor and ruptured uterus. Also, infants in the cesarean group were more prone to be premature or stillborn and small.

Granted, there are instances in which a cesarean can't be avoided, but there are plenty of things a mother can do to reduce her risks of enduring one:

Canadian Medical Association Journal, Vol. 176, No. 4, February 13, 2007: 455-460 Free Full Text Study

News-Medical.net February 20, 2007

Obstetrics & Gynecology, Vol. 109, No. 2, February 2007: 270-276

Reuters February 16, 2007