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Labour + birth

04th Nov 2021

The effects of C-sections last long after baby is born a new study has found

Trine Jensen-Burke

effects of C-sections last long after baby is born

It is easy to forget that C-sections are actually pretty major abdominal surgery.

Not only is the surgery itself considered major and actually rather invasive, but the new research has also pointed out that the recovery from C-section surgery actually takes far longer than we think – something which should in every way be taken into consideration when it comes to the follow-up care C-section mothers receive even months after their delivery.

Because yes, while C-sections can be a life-saving intervention for women and newborns due to labour complications, it is important to know they are also associated with other complications.

This is of special interest to us in Ireland, as we have quite a high percentage of C-sections compared with other countries. For instance, in 2015, C-sections accounted for 30.1 percent of all births in Ireland, while globally, this figure stands at 21 percent.

Complications and long-term effects

A study published recently in PLoS Medicine found that women who’ve had a cesarean delivery have an increased risk of miscarriage, placenta previa (when the placenta covers all or part of the cervix) and other serious complications with future pregnancies.

To reach these findings, a team of Scottish scientists combed through existing research on cesarean deliveries, which have increased significantly over the last two decades.

According to the findings, the complications don’t stop at just the mother – with babies born via C-section also facing different odds when compared to infants delivered vaginally. Specifically, cesarean babies are, for instance, more prone to developing asthma during childhood.

“These findings might help enhance discussions between clinicians and patients regarding mode of delivery,” the researchers write,

“Meaning that patients will be better informed of the potential long-term risks and benefits of cesarean delivery for themselves, their offspring, and any future pregnancies.”

It is not all bad news, however.

The researchers also discovered that women who give birth via C-section have a decreased risks of urinary incontinence and pelvic prolapse (when a pelvic organ drops and pushes against your vaginal walls) compared to women who deliver vaginally.

As well as this, babies who are delivered via C-section are less likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease later in life compared to their peers who were born vaginally.