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

Surrey Mayor delivering “virtual” State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Screen shot)
Surrey Mayor says city is ‘earning accolades from near and far’

Doug McCallum delivered his second State of the City Address on Tuesday since being elected in 2018

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo: larkgroup.com)
North Surrey rink, Newton playground earn B.C. excellence awards

Awards presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

Delta council began with an Indigenous land acknowledgement for the first time on Monday, May 10, 2021.
Delta council opens first meeting with Indigenous land acknowledgement

Acknowledgment will be read at the start of each council/committee meeting and City of Delta event

Surrey Fire Service battled a fire at an apartment building in Fleetwood late Friday night (May 14), near 84th Avenue and 160th Street. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey firefighters collecting donations for people displaced by Fleetwood apartment fire

Fleetwood BIA, community association also band together for donations, help

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Cat who chases away coyote asked to join Port Moody, Vancouver police 

Caught on camera Friday, the black cat jumps out from under a parked car and runs the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A thunderstorm, with lightning, pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fires

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit released a poster Tuesday, May 18 featuring the names and photos of more suspects involved in the Lower Mainland gang conflict.
Police issue warning for 8 more men involved in Lower Mainland gang conflict

B.C.’s gang task force says it’s expecting ‘violence to continue and escalate’

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Troy Patterson, a Cadboro Bay 15-year-old, got a virtual meeting with B.C.’s environment minister months after he started an online petition calling for construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline to stop. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
B.C. teen’s 23,000-name Coastal GasLink petition gets him an audience with the minister

15-year-old Saanich high school student and George Heyman discussed project for about 30 minutes

Most Read