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The dangers of an unnecessary cesarean delivery

A cesarean delivery (C-section) is the most common surgical procedure in the United States -- and it may be putting mothers and their babies through unnecessary risks far too often.

While there are certain factors that make you a more likely candidate for a C-section, such as having gestational diabetes, a baby in a breech position or just being an older mother, the biggest factor influencing whether or not you have a C-section is where you are when you deliver your baby.

New Jersey, for example, ranks fifth in the nation when it comes to delivering babies by C-section. Even within the state, however, there's variation from one hospital to the next. In one Secaucus hospital, two out of every three mothers gave birth early through elective C-sections without apparent medical justification.

Experts say that no more than 5 percent of mothers should deliver their babies early -- and then only when there is a medical necessity. However, many mothers are encouraged to essentially schedule their delivery through surgical means -- often at the behest of their own physicians. A scheduled delivery is certainly easier to predict, time-wise, which makes a C-section far more convenient for the physician and hospital. Mothers are often sold on the idea and cajoled into believing that C-sections are an easier, less painful alternative to a vaginal birth.

Women who are convinced that a C-section is easier or safer than a vaginal delivery, absent a sound medical reason for the advice, aren't being given good information by their physicians. Studies indicate that unnecessary C-sections have increased maternal death rates significantly -- doubling them since 1987. They also pose numerous other risks to the mother:

-- Cardiac arrest

-- Surgical site infections

-- Emergency hysterectomies

-- Fatal complications with anesthesia

-- Chronic pelvic pain

-- Trouble breastfeeding

Those are just a few of the major complications. In addition, C-sections are associated with the development of a number of childhood diseases, like asthma, obesity and juvenile diabetes. An early delivery also opens up the possibility that the infant's lungs or heart may not have fully developed ,which could lead to tragic consequences.

If you were encouraged to schedule your delivery by C-section without adequate medical justification for the procedure, and you or your baby suffered a serious complication, talk to an attorney about the possibility of a birth injury case.

Source: NJ.com, "N.J. among the worst states for high numbers of C-sections," Kathleen O'Brien, accessed May 25, 2017

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