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

Just Posted

Crews work to repair Horsefly Road east of Williams Lake . (Ministry of Transportation video)
MoTI activates district operations centre, response to flood damaged roads in Cariboo region

Engineers, experts being pulled from across the province to help

Jean Atkinson of Richbar Golf and Gardens says maple trees are the most popular shade tree sold by the nursery. (Black Press File Photo)
GARDENING WEEK: Maple trees provide shade, piece of Canadiana

Jean Atkinson from Quesnel’s Richbar Golf and Gardens says maples are their most popular shade tree

Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7pm tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
COLUMN: Front-line workers bearing mental strain of pandemic

Cassidy Dankochik’s column as seen in the May 12 edition of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer

Fraser River GM stopped by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Quesnel with a donation of 500 face masks Friday, May 7. (Fraser River Chevrolet Facebook photo)
Quesnel vehicle dealership helps mask those in need

1,000 face masks donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters and Salvation Army

Correlieu Secondary School made the announcement on their Facebook page. (file photo).
COVID-19 case detected at Correlieu Secondary School in Quesnel

This case marks the seventh time COVID-19 has been detected in the Quesnel School District

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Most Read