Pros And Cons Of Cesarean Section

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In the last decade, the number of cesarean sections — or C-sections — performed in America has nearly doubled. In fact, in the country today, approximately 30 percent of all babies born in the United States are delivered by C-section. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that more than a third of C-section are performed too early -- before 39 weeks -- putting newborns at greater risk for a variety of health problems. While many of these C-sections are medically indicated, the study found that more than half are done on an elective basis. 36 percent of women having elective C-sections scheduled their delivery before the recommended 39 weeks, making babies more likely to visit the intensive care unit, have infections and develop respiratory distress. Researchers say that elective C-sections are safest for the baby when done between 39 to 41 weeks of gestation and that women considering elective C-sections should wait until that point for the safest delivery. Though surgical know-how has grown with the increased use of C-sections, doctors say it is still important for women to weigh all possible risks against possible benefits when opting for the procedure. The Web site babycenter.com provides a physician panel-reviewed list of pros and cons of both vaginal birth and C-sections: Vaginal Birth Pros: Less risk of maternal hemorrhage, infection, blood clots, damage to internal organs Less risk of baby having specific respiratory problems (TTN and persistent pulmonary hypertension) Baby potentially less likely to develop allergies, asthma, or lactose intolerance Shorter hospital stay (one to three days) and quicker physical recuperation In later pregnancies, labor may be shorter and offer quicker delivery Mother may breast-feed more effectively Mother much less likely to require c-section in subsequent
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