Childbirth can involve a number of risks, particularly when a woman has a special medical condition or pregnancy complications. In cases where cesarean section becomes necessary, there are additional risks for both the mother and the baby. In some cases, these risks may be worth taking if the risks of an ordinary delivery are higher.
The decision to pursue cesarean section should, however, be made carefully and should be based on what is best for the mother and the child. When the risk in ordinary delivery is high, C-section should be considered as an alternative. Unfortunately, the decision to perform a C-section is too often made on an inadequate basis. This can be seen in the dramatic variation in C-section rates for low-risk deliveries at different hospitals.
Here in Michigan, the rate of C-section surgeries for first-time mothers with low-risk deliveries is fairly high. Whereas the national average is 23.9 percent, the rate is 27 percent in Michigan. There may be multiple reasons why C-section rates are high at so many hospitals. Some of these reasons may be beyond the control of patients and providers, but these reasons don’t give the whole picture. The reality is that too many hospitals rely on C-sections when they are not necessary, and not beneficial, for patients.
Unnecessary cesarean sections, by some estimates, are responsible for as much as 20,000 major surgical complications every year. Women with low-risk pregnancies, by receiving a cesarean section, are three times more likely to die as a result of childbirth or to suffer serious complications.
In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this issue, and why it is important to work with an experienced attorney when an unnecessary C-section results in injury for either mother or child.