Pregnancy :: Babies can be injured during c-section

About 1 in 100 babies delivered by caesarean section are injured in the process. The risk of injury is influenced by the reasons for doing the c-section.

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, analysed data from all 37,110 caesarean deliveries that took place at 13 centers between 1999 and 2000. The overall rate of injury to the baby was 1.1 percent.

Wounds to the skin accounted for more than half of the injuries. The next most common injury was severe bruising of the head, followed by broken collarbone, facial nerve damage, injury to the chest-arm nerve network, and skull fracture. In women with a first-time c-section as well as those who had previously undergone the procedure, the highest rate of fetal injury occurred following an attempt to deliver through the birth canal using forceps or vacuum.

On the other hand, the lowest risk of injury was associated with elective repeat caesarean deliveries.

While c-section can prevent birth trauma in certain circumstances, it can also cause injury as the current findings illustrate. Women should be counseled that, although fetal injury is uncommon, it is not absent in caesarean delivery.

Obstetrics & Gynecology,
October 2006

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