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Women not informed about options after C-section

In many cases, women will be directed to have a C-section delivery after they have had one in the past. Many women undergo C-section without being given correct information about their options and the risks of the procedure. New research suggests that women are making the decision to have a C-section without proper advice and counsel from their doctors. This can pose some unforeseen medical risks and potential complications. It may increase the risk of medical malpractice, birth injuries and wrongful death.

Doctors once followed the common practice of only performing C-section deliveries on women who had one in the past, with the concern that the uterus would rupture during delivery. It is now understood that vaginal delivery has many advantages for women and that the risks of a natural delivery after a C-section are not as high as once believed. In the U.S. C-sections account for one-third of all deliveries, which experts agree is, generally, too high. Some hospitals in Connecticut and nationwide do not even give women the option of vaginal delivery.

Some benefits to vaginal delivery:

  • Women have a shorter hospital stay and recovery time
  • Mothers are less likely to suffer from surgical complications
  • Less risk of excessive bleeding or infections
  • Reduced risk of breathing problems for newborns
  • A lower risk of death for mothers

In a recent study, researchers found that women were not aware of the benefits of vaginal delivery versus repeat C-section. Three-fourths of the women surveyed did not know that the actual risk of uterine rupture was only .5 percent to one percent chance, on average. Since the publication of the study, it is suggested that women be given full information about the risks and benefits to both C-section and natural delivery before making a decision.

If you have had a C-section in the past, you may still have the option of a vaginal delivery which could reduce the risk of birth injuries, injuries to the mother and medical malpractice. You have the right to full information about your options and the risks of a C-section procedure, even if you have had one in the past.

Source: Reuters, "Women lack info on labor versus repeat C-section," Amy Norton, June 22, 2012.

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