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

Five-year-old Bayne Krause poses for a photo with his mom Marianne. Bayne’s shirt reads, ‘I have Cystic Fibrosis. Help keep me healthy, please social distance.’ Photo: Laurie Tritschler
West Kootenay mom promotes awareness of cystic fibrosis

Marianne Krause wants people to know what it’s like for her five-year-old son to live with CF

A rolled-over semi along Highway 95. The RCMP have responded to nine collisions in the last month. (Brain Duchovnay photo)
Golden/Field RCMP recap last two months

The RCMP responded to 463 calls to service over the last two months

Details will be made available in the next few days. (File photo)
UPDATED: Community vaccine program to open in Golden

The clinic will be held from Saturday, May 8 until Sunday, May 16.

The higher elevation melt is getting underway as rivers such as Mark Creek in Kimberley are running faster. Paul Rodgers file
Snow packs down just below normal in East and West Kootenay

The West Kootenay in particular had below normal precipitation in April

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Hanoi 36 owner Michael Vu hopes to open Weekends Restaurant & Lounge this summer in the former Chicken Direct location on Alexander Street. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
Business: Salmon Arm restaurateur working for the Weekends

Hanoi 36 owner Michael Vu to open new downtown izakaya-inspired restaurant

Kelowna RCMP are investigating a robbery that happened over the weekend.	(Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
RCMP searching for suspect after armed robbery at Kelowna gas station

Police were unable to locate a man after he allegedly robbed a business on Highway 33 W

(Black Press Media file)
Mounties investigate downtown Kelowna group assault

Police said the incident happened at the Queensway bus loop on May 8

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP reviewing rough arrest after video shared on social media

The video shows an officer punching a man while arresting him for allegedly driving a stolen car

The real estate boom across the Okanagan has not felt a negative impact from the coronavirus impact on our national economy. (Contributed)
Booming year ahead, says Kootenay Association of Realtors

Strong real estate sales continue throughout Kootenays

(Westside Road Community Road Reports/Facebook)
Fire near West Kelowna resort now under control

According to BC Wildfire Service, the fire is nearly out

Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail ownership partners were awarded a grant for $250,000 to support construction of a pilot section of trail. (Shuswap Trail Alliance photo)
Shuswap North Okanagan Rail Trail pilot project to start this year

Grant funding received for section of trail in Enderby, Splatsin territory

Most Read