A doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman at a hospital in Chicago on Aug. 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Teresa Crawford

A doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman at a hospital in Chicago on Aug. 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Teresa Crawford

Study co-author says planned C-sections may be less risky for some moms and babies

C-sections carry their own risks, including infection, blood clots, pain and a long recovery period

Planned caesarean sections are safe for low-risk deliveries and may be associated with a lower chance of complications for both mother and baby compared with vaginal deliveries, according to the co-author of a study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Still, maternal fetal medicine specialist Dr. Darine El-Chaâr said women should consult their doctor on what’s best for them, and called for more research on the long-term effects of planned caesareans, including how the health of babies born this way differs from their vaginally born counterparts.

El-Chaâr said the research compared the outcomes of C-section deliveries that were requested and found that about 60 per cent of the mothers and their babies fared better.

Researchers analyzed birth-registry data from Ontario on 422,210 low-risk pregnancies between 2012 and 2018 and found 46,533 babies were born by C-section. They focused on 1,827 cases, or nearly four per cent, involving women who’d requested the procedure in advance.

They then looked for 10 common problems that can stem from labour and delivery, including rupture of the uterus, tears to the pelvic floor as well as whether the newborn was admitted to neonatal intensive care for issues such as respiratory distress.

“The findings are significant from a statistical point of view but we’d love to see this in a larger population,” said El-Chaâr, associate scientist at the Ottawa Hospital.

She said multiple factors including medical history may influence someone’s decision to opt for a C-section.

The study found women who chose a caesarean delivery were more likely to be white, aged 35 or older and live in a higher-income neighbourhood. They were also more likely to have conceived by in-vitro fertilization, and be delivering their first baby.

Ontario is believed to be the only province with a birth registry that includes information on scheduled C-sections, so it’s not known how many women elsewhere in Canada ask for the procedure.

El-Chaâr said some of her older patients requested a C-section to reduce risk of complications with a vaginal birth, but fear of childbirth was among the most common reasons for seeking the procedure.

“I see, as a physician, women who are just so scared of what labour is, and the pain, that they truly cannot be reasoned into the process of vaginal delivery,” El-Chaâr said.. “Women often are scared of it in the first pregnancy but as you talk to them, as they take prenatal classes, they are used to the idea and they are more comfortable with it.”

“There are also patients who’ve gone through traumatic sexual assault and they just don’t feel comfortable delivering,” she added. “These are very rare.”

C-sections carry their own risks, including infection, blood clots, pain and a long recovery period.

But scheduled C-sections are sometimes medically necessary for older women who face greater risk of complications with a vaginal birth if they have certain conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis, El-Chaâr said.

An abnormal fetal heart rate is the most common reason for a caesarean delivery, she added.

The World Health Organization saysthe ideal rate of C-sections is between 10 and 15 per cent.

Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information show almost 30 per cent of deliveries in Canada were by C-section between 2019 to 2020. British Columbia had the highest rate, at nearly 38 per cent, and the Northwest Territories had the lowest at 19 per cent. Ontario was closest to the national average.

British Columbia recently began an online interactive program to help women decidehow they want to deliverafter a previous C-section.

Sarah Munro, who led the research and development of the project and is an assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Columbia, said the goal is to let families know about the potential benefits and harms of whatever decision they make.

“We’ve been making a lot of effort across different parts of the health-care system to improve shared decision-making, so providing patients with tools to make choices about mode of birth and providing care providers with strategies to have those conversations.”

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BirthsHealthcare

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Memorials have been set up to honour those who died during the Second World War. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: It’s time to stop making comparisons to Hitler

The deadliest, most destructive war in human history should not become a metaphor

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

An example of one the sounding boards the RDOS has set up to gather feedback for their first parks, trails and recreation master plan. (RDOS)
Looking for feedback from Princeton and Keremeos for park and rec plan

Sounding boards have been set up in both regions for in-person input

Al Kowalko shows off the province's first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
Okanagan schools shifting gears to electric buses

Vernon, Central Okanagan, Rocky Mountain and Okanagan-Skaha on board

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Kelowna seen from the top of Knox Mountain. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
Accessibility concerns raised as Kelowna ponders banning vehicles from Knox Mountain

Knox Mountain Drive, which leads to two lookouts, has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began

Upgrades will be completed on a portion of the Kettle Valley Railway trail north of Penticton. (Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen photo)
Contract awarded for improvements to trail near Penticton

Portion of Kettle Valley Railway trail will receive upgrades

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Cops for Kids riders will be spinning 30 feet in the air on scissor lifts at SaveOn Foods locations in Kelowna, Lake Country and West Kelowna Saturday, May 8, 2021. (File photo)
Cops reach new heights for Okanagan kids

Nor-Val Rentals is doing the heavy lifting Saturday in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News file)
People aged 30+ in Summerland, Rutland offered vaccine amid high transmission risk

Interior Health offers residents of Rutland and Summerland aged 30 and up chance at vaccine

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Most Read