A woman looking forward to delivering her baby may feel devastated to discover that she must have a c-section. A cesarean section is a surgical (rather than vaginal) delivery can be planned or entirely unexpected. It can be chosen because the delivery is deemed “high risk” or because of some unanticipated problems that makes it necessary for the medical team to take action immediately.
A C-section is not an unusual or uncommon way to bring your child into the world, and, in the United States alone, around 1.4 million are performed each year. Of course, this is cold comfort to a woman facing such an invasive and scary situation. Naturally, the “upside” is that a full surgical team is available – whether a c-section is planned or not. Thus, a neonatologist may be on call and able to step in if there are any problems with the infant during the procedure.
Does this mean they are fool-proof? Unfortunately, no, and there are some risks.
The Risks and C-Section Injury Symptoms
The c-section requires an incision to be made in the abdomen and then for the skin, muscle, and uterus to be opened as well. Organs are cut, incisions made, and damages to the surrounding tissue and organs is always a possibility. In fact, things get adjusted and pushed around enough that serious injury is a risk.
The fact that a woman is also giving birth while undergoing major surgery cannot be overlooked. As one medical expert said, “Because we do so many so often, people are lulled into a false sense of security,” but the reality is that a c-section is always a risk to the mother and baby. When someone has had more than three, the risks are even greater.
Being Aware of Key C-Section Injury Symptoms
Interestingly enough, some experts credit the concerns around mechanical instruments as a reason for the rise in c-section deliveries, with physicians encouraging patients to have surgery rather than the lengthier and more stressful natural birth with mechanical intervention. However, it is best to balance risks against benefits.
The chances for c-section injury symptoms increase with age and with the number of previous c-sections, and 40% of women with multiple c-sections end up requiring blood transfusions or even hysterectomy to stop uncontrollable bleeding. Additional risks include:
- Maternal infection
- Clotting in legs or lungs
- Bowel trouble
- Organ injury
- Infants can be injured during the rapid and somewhat rough procedure of delivery
- Infants may require time in a neonatal ICU
- Breathing problems may occur in infants as well
Those are the most common issues, there are also injuries that are less common, but which must be considered when choosing whether to have the procedure or not.
Watch for C-Section Injury Symptoms
Birth injuries can and do occur during c-section, and the c-section injury symptoms relate to such events as lacerations of the unborn baby, fetal distress and injuries due to delaying the c-section are a problem too. There may also be c-section injury symptoms from anesthesia in both the mother and infant too.
Signs range from hemorrhaging and loss of consciousness to developmental delays due to lack of oxygen to the brain. The list of possible symptoms is extensive, and it is awareness that is your best resource at such times.
Though it would be great if fewer problems and injuries were possible during c-section deliveries, the fact of the matter is that the risks are still there. There is never just a single “best option” or “sure thing” when faced with a difficult, high risk, or challenging childbirth. C-sections have their pros and cons. The key is to discuss the options with your medical team and be very vigilant for signs of injury to the mother or newborn in the hours after the surgery has occurred.