Cesareans are seriously harming women.

So many women who have had complications from cesarean surgery think that they are the only one.  They often suffer in silence thinking that the medical profession, by and large, is doing a good job.  If midwives were running the obstetric show in North America and were having this rate of serious complications that could be traced right back to the practitioner, there would be hell to pay.  The cesarean surgery rate has to come down.  The cost to families is too great to continue on this path of destruction.  Gloria

From Reuters Health Information



Rates of Severe Obstetric Complications Increased Over Last Decade


 NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jan 23/09 – The prevalence of obstetric complications resulting in severe maternal morbidity — particularly pulmonary embolism and need for blood transfusions — increased significantly in the US between 1998 and 2005, investigators report in the February issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. During the same period, rates of cesarean delivery rose from 21.1% to 31.1%, Dr. Susan F. Meikle, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and co-authors note. The proportion of delivery hospitalizations involving older women and women on Medicaid/Medicare also increased with time, as did deliveries characterized by multiple births, hypertension, and diabetes. However, they point out, “comprehensive population-based information on severe obstetric complications remains very limited.” 

To examine trends in severe labor and delivery complications, the authors used data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project for more than 32 million delivery discharge records. The proportion of deliveries with at least one severe obstetric complication increased from 0.64% in 1998-1999 to 0.81% in 2004-2005, the report indicates. 

There was a 52% increase in pulmonary embolism and a 92% increase in blood transfusions. Rates of renal failure, respiratory distress syndrome, shock, and mechanical ventilation increased by about 20%. By contrast, rates of severe complications of anesthesia declined, and there were no significant changes in heart failure, puerperal cerebrovascular disorders, pulmonary edema, deep venous thrombosis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and sepsis. 

Adjustment for cesarean delivery explained almost all the increases in estimated risk of renal failure, respiratory distress, and ventilation, although the authors note that their results “do not demonstrate causality.” Dr. Meikle’s team points out that the UK has established a surveillance system for rare obstetric complications. Development of a similar system in the US “may improve the ascertainment, monitoring, and classification of these complications and potentially identify modifiable risk factors.” 

Obstet Gynecol 2009;113:293-299. Reuters Health Information © 2009  


3 thoughts on “Cesareans are seriously harming women.

  1. we are only beginning to learn the severe consequences of the current c/s rate. I didn’t have major complications with my c/s, but afterwards I was never the same and have since had chronic pain…sadly, time will show just how damaging c/s are in so many ways.

  2. Gloria, thank you for republishing this article. Women are quietly devastated in our society after their births by cesarean. One group from which women find solace is ICAN – the International Cesarean Awareness Network (www.ican-online.org). With chapters in many cities and regions holding monthly support meetings, women can talk to other women who have had surgical births and heal. Over time, women can also gather information for their next birth in order to be well-equipped to make decisions about VBAC, place of birth, and attendant. Many of the women in our local chapter go on to have wonderful births with midwives.

    Unfortunately, we know that preventing that first cesarean is the key to the future health of mothers and babies. Let’s keep working to bring that number back to the reasonable 10-15% the WHO would like for us to have.

  3. Pingback: High Cesarean rates: all talk, no action | Wise Woman Way of Birth

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