Cesarean deliveries (C-sections) have increased in popularity over the years as the procedures become safe enough to where mothers have elected to undergo the procedure voluntarily for reasons of convenience and personal preference, in addition to the historical reasons of medical necessity. In fact, since 2010, c-section deliveries accounted for over a third of births in the United States, with many women simply electing to undergo c-sections from a medical safety perspective to reasons of scheduling the birth process in a manner that is commensurate with the other life and career obligations of the mother.
Reasons for Undergoing a C-Section
While each mother’s mental calculus for electing to undergo a voluntary c-section will vary, medically necessary c-sections stem from the following in many cases:
- The birthing process appears to be or actually presents complications and fetal distress, such as the infant in the breaching position or preeclampsia
- Complications to the birthing process such as a ruptured uterus or placenta eruption, requiring immediate emergency c-sections to save the life of the mother and child
- An STD or diabetes is present in the mother at the time of birth
- Multiple infant births or prior c-section underwent by the mother
- Mother presents medical history of birth complications or conditions known to cause birth complications, if first child
C-Section Injury Possibilities for Infants
Despite the fact that these delivery methods have become safer through new advances in medical technology and knowledge, there is still much potential for complications and injuries that arise from the use of cesarean delivery. These problems can arise in either the child or the mother and can be unavoidable or caused by the result of medical negligence or error. Many of the complications of a C-section delivery to the mother are the result of problems with the anesthesia, or more commonly, the failure to order a medically necessary c-section in sufficient time.
C-section injury problems relating to anesthesia can arise when the mother has allergic reactions to the medication or when the wrong dosage, either too much or too little, is given to her. Complications from anesthesia problems might include:
- Low blood pressure
- Internal bleeding
- Blood clots
Other complications that might affect the mother outside of medicinal concerns include many of the complications generally associated with any surgical procedure including infections and hemorrhaging.
Just as there are many potential issues that could harm the mother during a C-section delivery, there is also much harm that could affect the newborn infant during this process. Breathing problems in the infant are of the utmost concern. In fact, breathing problems occur more often in infants after a C-section than after a vaginal birth. Because of this, it is important to monitor the baby after delivery in order to watch for signs that breathing issues are occurring. Potentially fatal, breathing issues in infants during c-section deliveries is a commonly cited cause of cerebral palsy developing in the infant.
Similarly, to the mother, infants can be negatively affected by the anesthesia and medications taken by the mother. Other problems can arise if the C-section is performed later than is recommended, which in normal circumstances, would be the result of the failure of medical professionals to recognize fetal distress as it relates to breathing and other issues. This can occur because a doctor failed to get the patient into surgery quick enough, the need for a C-section occurred because of a complication during labor, a surgical room was not readily available, or any other host of reasons, of which are outside the normal standard of care in c-section and c-section injury treatment. If the C-section is delayed too long, the likelihood of complications increase and can include brain damage caused by lack of oxygen, physical deformities, and even death.