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Understanding some of the risks associated with cesarean delivery

When couples receive the monumental news that they will soon be welcoming a new addition to their family, they are typically overcome with joy and committed to sharing the good news with as many loved ones as possible.

Once this initial excitement subsides, however, most expecting parents shift the entirety of their focus to planning, including everything from setting up a nursery, attending baby showers and picking a name to finding a treating physician, investigating hospital choices and, of course, selecting a birthing method.

While it's understandable why a couple would want to select a birthing method ahead of time, as it grants them the peace of mind that comes from knowing what to anticipate, they must also be prepared for the possibility that medical necessity may force them to consider a different route.

Indeed, once the big day arrives, the couple may be informed by their physician that the route that will best ensure that health of the mother or child is an unplanned cesarean section, commonly referred to as a c-section.

While there are many reasons why a physician may opt to go this route, some of the more common ones include the failure of labor to progress, compression of the umbilical cord or fetal distress, to name only a few.

While a complete breakdown of the procedure for a c-section is clearly beyond the scope of a single blog post, those women who undergo an unplanned procedure can expect some of the following pre-surgical steps to occur (provided it's not an emergency delivery):

  • A discussion with both the physician performing the c-section and the attending anesthesiologist
  • A verbal request for consent or a request for a signature on a consent form
  • Application of heart and blood pressure monitors
  • Insertion of a catheter and administration of IV medication

As to the risks that accompany a c-section, either planned or unplanned, these should be discussed with the patient ahead of time and can include any of the following:

  • Blood loss
  • Infection
  • Bladder or bowel injuries
  • Weakening of the uterine wall
  • Blood clots (embolism)
  • Anesthesia reactions
  • Birth injuries

It's important for patients who are harmed and/or couples whose newborns are harmed during c-sections to seek the necessary answers. Indeed, if they come to believe that the birth injures could be attributable to some form of medical negligence, they should seriously consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about their options for seeking justice. 

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