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Emergency 'C' sections might affect future pregnancies, says study

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 15/07/2013

According to a new Irish university report, emergency Caesarean deliveries can threaten future pregnancies, with a risk that babies conceived later could be stillborn.

An emergency 'C' section is often performed if there is an unexpected complication in pregnancy.

The findings have been countered by some expert gynaecologists, who say that problems following emergency procedures are "very slight" and are as likely to be caused by mothers' underlying medical problems.

Following the largest study of its kind, researchers at Cork's University College said an emergency 'C' section delivery can interrupt the womb's blood supply.

Is the 'C' section linked to fertility?

The research explored the relationship between a woman's fertility and the 'C' section procedure, following earlier studies whose outcomes did not match.

Drawing on 3 decades of records from Denmark, the scientists compared women who had given birth by 'C' section with those whose babies were delivered naturally.

According to data on over 800,000 mothers, future stillbirths were no more risked by a planned Caesarean than by a natural delivery. However, scientists at Cork found the risk for women who needed 'C' sections in emergency circumstances could be 12% higher.

Underlying medical conditions could be fault

However, although mothers-to-be ought to be aware of a "very slight" risk from an emergency 'C' section, they should not worry excessively, said Patrick O'Brien of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

He added that if doctors were compelled to perform the emergency operation due to a woman's existing medical condition, the latter is more likely to be the cause of any later problems than merely the procedure.

Cork's study report was unveiled at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, amid statistics revealing more women than ever across the world are opting for 'C' sections.

Reasons given for the increase include the relatively painless nature of the Caesarean compared with a natural birth, and the fact that the many older women now having babies are more likely to encounter complications in delivery.

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