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woman going into surgery for a c-section

Cesarean section, also known as a C-section, is a commonly performed surgical procedure that involves delivering a baby by making an incision in a pregnant person’s abdomen. It is often performed when a medical provider deems that vaginal delivery would put the baby or the birthing mother at risk.

In 2018, nearly one-third (32%) of all babies delivered in the U.S. happened by C-section—but it hasn’t always been this way. When its usage was first measured back in 1965, only 4.5% of babies were delivered by C-section nationwide. Now, it’s the nation’s most common operating room procedure.

So, why exactly is this happening?

When C-Section Should Be Used

C-sections can go planned or unplanned, and certain factors may increase one’s chances of having a C-section. Planned C-sections, also known as “elective” c-sections, may be used if the mother:

  • Has an infection that transferred to the baby
  • Had a previous c-section procedure
  • Has high blood pressure
  • Is obese or diabetic
  • Is carrying a very large baby
  • Is carrying multiple babies
  • Has a low-lying placenta
  • Has had previous uterine surgery
  • Is older

An unplanned C-section, also known as an emergency C-section, may be used in place of a vaginal delivery if:

  • The baby is breach (head first)
  • Labor has not progressed for many hours
  • The baby or mother are showing signs of distress
  • Other complications arise during delivery
  • The umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck

An Overused Surgical Procedure

While C-sections can be a lifesaving measure, the question remains: why have C-section rates in the U.S. skyrocketed in recent decades? A Consumer Reports investigation, which was published in 2017, examined 1,500 different hospitals around the country and found that C-sections are being overused—and solely for convenience purposes.

According to researchers cited in the study, almost half of C-sections performed in the U.S. are not medically required. The data also revealed that your chances of having a C-section could be nine times higher depending on the hospital where you choose to have your baby.

There are a few reasons why the procedure is being used more frequently in modern time:

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). More IVF pregnancies result in more accounts of twins and triplets, which can increase the likelihood of C-sections.
  • Fetal Monitoring. Continuous use of fetal heart monitoring can cause anxiety about prolonged labor in even non-emergency situations.
  • Busy Delivery Rooms. With more babies being delivered, doctors can end up rushing birth to free up beds.
  • Lawsuits. In order to avoid a medical malpractice or birth injury lawsuit, even well-intentioned doctors may rush C-sections in non-emergency situations to eliminate dangers to the mother and baby.

The Medical Risks of C-Sections

Typically, C-sections are done to maintain the health and safety of both mother and baby. However, the fact is that it is still surgery and, as with any other surgical procedure, comes with certain risks; some of these risks include:

C-Section Risks for Babies

  • Failure to Breastfeed
  • Breathing Problems
  • Infant Death
  • Asthma
  • Trauma
  • Infant Death

C-Section Risks for Mothers

  • Excessive Bleeding
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Infections
  • Surgical Injuries
  • Emergency Hysterectomy
  • Pain
  • Maternal Death

Were You a Victim of Medical Negligence?

Birth injuries don’t just impact babies; they can also result in devastating maternal injuries and lead to long-term effects. If you or your loved one was injured as a result of a C-section, you deserve justice and compensation to pay for future care.

You may have been a victim of medical malpractice due to a C-section procedure if:

  • It was done poorly.
  • It was untimely performed.
  • You or your baby was harmed.

At Angel Law, our legal team purposefully only takes a handful of cases each year. This year, we can dedicate our time, skills, knowledge, and resources to helping our clients and their families obtain the best possible outcome. Turn to a team that will always put your best interests first.

Contact our Portland birth injury attorneys at (503) 862-8666 to get started with your no-fee, no-obligation consultation today.

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