What are risks and benefits of C-section birth?

c-section education c-section scar caesarean birth emergency c-section healing post c-section Mar 09, 2022

Caesarean delivery is a possibility in all pregnancies. Doctors Chervenak & McCullough, of New York, USA1 argue that pregnant patients should be prepared for this possibility well in advance of arrival at the birthing unit. She should be asked to authorise caesarean delivery in advance should the obstetrician deem it the only safe form of delivery. There is an ethical rationale for this, given the fact that a patient may lose her capacity to engage in the informed consent process in some obstetrical emergencies. The understanding would then be that the obstetrician may be making the recommendation if deemed necessary and that caesarean birth would then be initiated as she previously had completed the informed consent which was held in her medical records. What do you think?

Personally, I think it would have been great to have had the opportunity for informed consent well before my  C-section. I would then have had the opportunity to explore the risks and benefits rather than experiencing surprise at the impact of the surgery and the unexpected difficulties encountered during the recovery period.

Every woman should know and understand the risks and benefits of caesarean birth, a surgical procedure that is classified as major surgery. Unlike many other abdominal surgeries that are performed by keyhole surgery, five layers are cut open and separated to access the baby followed by another 6 weeks for the scar to heal. Our signature day planners in the C-Section Recovery Manual  will give you an idea about what's involved in the healing process. Empowering women with knowledge can help them be better mentally and physically prepared and can allay anxiety.

To learn more about the risks and benefits associated with Caesarean birth you can access the RCOG informed consent document that lists the risks and frequency of occurrence. You can also access Caesarcare’s infographic here.


For more C-section information and free guides, check or join our 'All things C-section' facebook group 

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 1. Chervenak FA, McCullough LB. Written consent should not be obtained at the time of emergency caesarean section: AGAINST: Written consent should be obtained. BJOG. 2018 Dec;125(13):1756. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.15338. PMID: 30426655.



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