When Hospitals Monitor Women in Labor, C-Sections Can Be Reduced

Monitoring of pregnant women can lead to less c-sections.A new study indicates that mothers and babies can be protected from serious delivery complications involving C-sections that sometimes end in death. In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the number of babies being delivered through cesarean sections (C-sections). New research indicates that labor and delivery clinicians who continuously monitor women in labor tend to have a reduced number of potentially dangerous C-sections compared a hospitals that provide clinicians on standby as needed.

In a C-section birth, an incision is made through the abdominal wall and uterus, avoiding a traditional vaginal delivery. In recent years, one and three births in the United States have been performed through cesarean section. This number is up by 60 percent over the total number of C-sections in the 1990s.

Although the procedure is used to save the lives of many babies and mothers under certain emergency scenarios, it is believed to be widely overused. Many medical professionals are concerned that many of these C-sections are performed without clear evidence of any significant improvement over newborn or maternal outcomes.

Unneeded Cesarean Sections Performed Posing Risk To Mother & Baby

Labor is a challenging time for every mother. In many situations, the fetus is not provided adequate oxygen and blood in the hours before being born. When in distress, labor and delivery clinicians must be fully prepared to perform an emergency cesarean section to save the life of the child and/or mother.

However, there are significant risks involved in performing surgery in lieu of a traditional vaginal birth.In early 2013, a new study was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Findings in the report suggest that continuous monitoring throughout labor and delivery decreases the odds of performing cesarean delivery. The study indicates that the mother and child have better outcomes when labor and delivery are monitored around-the-clock.

Gleaning information from nearly 750,000 single births over a two-year period, the study showed that hospitals that provided continuous monitoring throughout labor and delivery perform C-sections 37 percent of the time. Alternatively, hospitals that provided a labor and delivery clinician as needed, without providing continuous monitoring, performed cesarean sections 63 percent of the time.

These numbers represent mothers giving birth for the first time along with those having given birth to previous children. Additionally, mothers previously delivering babies through C-sections have a higher potential of at least attempting vaginal delivery in hospitals that provide continuous monitoring throughout the entire birthing process.

While cesarean sections are considered a safe method for delivery, even minor complications can develop into significant health problems. C-sections have the potential of developing infection in both the baby and mother. In addition, the mother can also suffer serious complications including significant bleeding through surgery and afterwards, along with organ damage to her bladder, ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. The mother can also develop blood clots, blood vessel injury, nerve damage, abdominal adhesions, heart or lung failure, and reactions to anesthesia or medication.

In many incidences, mothers are never warned of the serious risk involved in having their babies delivered through a C-section. However, the potential of the baby suffering injury during a cesarean section is real and can prove to be life altering for both the mother and child.

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