Diva and “The Voice” judge Christina Aguilera scheduled an elective cesarean procedure during her 37th week of pregnancy in 2008, when she gave birth to her first child Max. She’s not alone. Almost 27 percent of all births in the U.S. are C-sections in low-risk situations such as Aguilera’s. (“Low risk” is defined as single births, with babies in a good position, at 37 or more weeks of gestation.)
And although C-sections can be life-saving for women and newborns, doctors are trying to reduce the use of elective C-sections. Two new studies show why.
Besides the risks associated with surgery and anesthesia for both mother and baby (repeated fetal anesthesia exposure is a long-term risk to a baby’s brain development), a National Vital Statistics Report shows that mothers need transfusions for C-sections at more than three times the rate of vaginal births; intensive-care admissions were almost six times higher for first-time cesarean deliveries; and by far the highest rates of ruptured uterus and unplanned hysterectomy occur with repeat cesarean deliveries.
Plus, a new study from New York University shows that the child may be at increased risk for Type 1 diabetes (up 19 percent), asthma (up 1.6 percent) and obesity (up 3.6 percent) later in life, perhaps because the child doesn’t pass through the vaginal canal, where a newborn picks up important bacteria for a healthy gut biome and immune system. So before scheduling an elective C-section, make sure you talk with your doctor about all of the risks and benefits for you and your child.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.