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North Carolina Injury Blog

C-Sections May Not Be As Safe As Many Parents Believe

It appears that cesarean deliveries are falling out of favor in the medical community. Evidence demonstrates that C-sections may be more harmful than good for many mothers in labor and their newborns. 

Dr. Vincenzo Berghella of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine says that, while they save lives, C-sections are not always the safest delivery method and current rates are too high. In fact, multiple surgical deliveries may increase certain risks, including placenta abnormalities and the need for hysterectomies. Dr. Berghella’s group, along with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, issued pregnancy delivery guidelines recommending that obstetricians give vaginal deliveries more opportunity to succeed, especially for first-time mothers. These guidelines may meet with resistance, as C-sections are often more convenient and quicker, and they result in a bigger payment to the physician. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) conducted a study of cesarean deliveries that showed, out of 37,100 such deliveries, 418 resulted in birth injuries, including the following: 

  • Skin lacerations
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Clavicular fracture
  • Brachial plexus palsy
  • Skull fracture
  • Facial nerve palsy 

Forceps and vacuum injuries, and injuries caused by certain types of uterine incisions, were the most common. However, cesarean deliveries may still be considered necessary when situations such as the following exist: 

  • Previous surgeries
  • Placenta problems
  • Chronic health conditions or infections
  • Delivery of multiples or very large babies
  • Babies in breech or transverse positions
  • Umbilical cord prolapse
  • Fetal distress 

The guidelines hope to address some of these issues, such as having doctors counsel women on appropriate birth weights and turn breech babies into head-down positions a month before the due date. While these guidelines are not hard and fast rules, doctors have a duty to follow a standard of patient care commensurate with that generally accepted by the medical community. When they fail to do so and a mother or baby suffers a birth injury, they may be held liable. 

If you or your baby suffered a birth injury that you believe is a result of doctor negligence during delivery or pregnancy, seek the guidance of a compassionate medical malpractice attorney in North Carolina to learn about your right to compensation.

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