A new study entitled Neonatal Outcomes After Elective Cesarean Delivery published in the June issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology (aka “The Green Journal” published by American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG)) concluded that:
“In comparison with vaginal birth after cesarean, neonates born after elective repeat cesarean delivery have significantly higher rates of respiratory morbidity and NICU-admission and longer length of hospital stay.”
The journal article begins with the following introduction:
“In 2006, the United States cesarean delivery rate of 31.1% was at an all-time high, making cesarean delivery the most common surgical procedure performed in American women. This high rate of cesarean delivery is attributed to the rise in primary cesarean delivery rates from 14.6% in 1996 to 20.3% in 2005, an increase of 60%. With the rates of vaginal births after cesarean delivery (VBAC) at an all-time low of 7.9% in 2005, women who have a primary cesarean delivery have a greater than 90% chance of having a repeat cesarean delivery, only serving to increase the overall cesarean delivery rate. Almost one half of cesarean deliveries, a rate of 15%, are done electively, before the onset of labor.”
This study found that neonates born by intended cesarean delivery were more prone to NICU admission for:
1) hypoglycemia (low blood sugar),
2) needing higher rates of oxygen supplementation,
3) needing intubation/ventilator support
This study’s findings were consistent with the multiple studies previously done that documented respiratory morbidity in neonates born after elective repeat cesarean delivery, particularly with an increase in:
1) respiratory distress syndrome,
2) transient tachypnea of the newborn,
3) persistent pulmonary hypertension,
4) need for supplemental oxygen
5) respiratory morbidity related to failure to clear fetal lung fluid related to birth without benefit of labor
The authors write:
“While the common perception is that conditions such as transient tachypnea of the newborn are benign, self-limiting illnesses, several studies indicate that neonates with such conditions can progress to severe respiratory failure, leading to the need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or death.”
This study really hits home for me since I had to scrub three, count them, THREE primary elective cesarean sections the other week, all attended by the same physician, for the most outrageous and bogus reasons EVER! Stay tuned….More on elective primary cesarean section to come!
To read the full text of this study click here.
To read the Health Day newspaper article on this study check out Yahoo! News.
To learn more about Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) and the risks of Repeat Cesarean Section, please visit ICAN’s website.
Special THANKS to The Feminist Breeder for alerting me to this study!