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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka Kids Summer Camp registration opens next week

Registration opens next week for the Ponoka Youth Centre/ Boys and Girls… Continue reading

Town of Ponoka logo
Town council approves 2021 capital and operating budgets

Ponoka town council approved the 2021 capital and operating budgets at its… Continue reading

(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe man to apply to withdraw manslaughter guilty plea

Tyler John Campbell wants to change plea after judge rejected seven-year sentence

Supporters gather during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mirror Alta, on Saturday May 8, 2021. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police hand out tickets to dozens leaving anti-lockdown protest in Alberta

Hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Café in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta.

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

File photo
Arrest made for armed robbery in Millet, Wetaskiwin RCMP continue to investigate

Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating an armed robbery took place May 4, 2021 in Millet, Alta.

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read