Posts Tagged ‘C-section’

Twins & triplets have greater odds of needing a NICU

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

tripletsToday, more than 3 percent of babies in this country are born in sets of two, three or more; about 95 percent of these multiple births are twins. The high number of multiple pregnancies is a concern because women who are expecting more than one baby are at increased risk of certain pregnancy complications, including premature birth (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy). 

About 60 percent of twins, more than 90 percent of triplets, and virtually all quadruplets and higher-order multiples are born premature. The length of pregnancy decreases with each additional baby. On average, most singleton pregnancies last 39 weeks; for twins, 35 weeks; for triplets, 32 weeks; and for quadruplets, 29 weeks.

More than half of twins and almost all higher-order multiples are born with low birthweight (LBW), less than 5½ pounds or 2,500 grams.  LBW can result from premature birth and/or poor fetal growth. Both are common in multiple pregnancies.

LBW babies, especially those born before about 32 weeks gestation and/or weighing less than 3 1/3 pounds (1,500 grams), are at increased risk of health problems in the newborn period as well as lasting disabilities, such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy,  and vision and hearing loss.   While advances in caring for very small infants has brightened the outlook for these tiny babies, chances remain slim that all infants in a set of sextuplets or more will survive and thrive.

Preeclampsia and diabetes  in the mother are two conditions that, for the safety of the mother and baby, can lead to an early delivery. Women expecting twins are more than twice as likely as women with a singleton pregnancy to develop preeclampsia. Gestational diabetes can cause the baby to grow especially large, increasing the risk of injuries to mother and baby during vaginal birth and making cesarean delivery more likely.  Babies born to women with gestational diabetes also may have breathing and other problems during the newborn period.

Have you or someone in your family had twins or triplets?  Were they in the NICU?

New guidelines on vaginal birth after c-section

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

It used to be that once you had a c-section, you’d always have a c-section. Now, health experts are rethinking this idea and believe that many women may be able to safely have a vaginal birth after a c-section (called VBAC).

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists today released guidelines to make it easier for more women to have VBACs by encouraging health providers to consider VBACs as an option for healthy pregnant women. In fact, about 6 to 8 out of 10 women who try a VBAC are successful in having a vaginal birth. Even women who are carrying twins and had more than one c-section in the past may be able to have a VBAC safely.

While there may be some risks in doing a VBAC (as with childbirth in general), it can be safe for many healthy women and their babies. The benefits of having a VBAC include a lower chance of infection, blood loss or other health complications associated with c-sections as well as a shorter recovery time after giving birth. You’re more likely to have a successful VBAC if:
• Your c-section cut was made in the lower part of the uterus
• Your health and baby’s health are well during pregnancy.
• Your labor starts on its own and continues naturally at 37 to 40 weeks of pregnancy.

If you had a c-section and are pregnant again, talk to your health provider to see if a VBAC is the right choice for you.

C-section rate the highest it has ever been in the U.S.

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Nearly one-third of all births in the U.S. were via cesarean section in 2007. According to a new study out this month, the rate of cesarean delivery rose by 53% from 1996 to 2007.  An increase showed for mothers of all ages and across racial and Hispanic-origin groups.  And an increase was seen in every state in the country, six states with an increase as high as 70%!

Cesarean section is delivery of a baby by major abdominal surgery.  Like any major surgery, there are certain risks associated with cesarean delivery. C-section, however, can be a lifesaving operation when either you or your baby face certain problems before or during labor and delivery.  Because cesarean section is major surgery, it should be performed only when the health of the mother or baby is at risk.

According to the study, cesarean rates were higher for both early and late preterm infants (before 37 weeks) than for term infants.  Preterm infants are more likely to have medical problems than babies born a few weeks later at full term. These babies often spend time in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) receiving expert, yet costly, care.  (The hospital cost of a cesarean birth alone usually is twice that of a vaginal birth.)

If you are thinking about cesarean delivery, carefully consider the risks and benefits for your baby and yourself.  Make a list of your questions and have a serious discussion about your options with your health care provider.

Diabetes Awareness Day

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

One third of women with diabetes don’t know they have it – that’s one out of every three women with diabetes, a lot!  Today is Diabetes Awareness Day.  We’ve posted on the importance of getting diabetes under control before you conceive and keeping it under control during pregnancy, but today is a good opportunity to mention it again. 

This is really important ladies.  If too much glucose (sugar) is in a woman’s blood during early pregnancy, there’s a chance that this can cause birth defects of the brain or spine, heart defects, cleft lip or palate, kidney problems, etc. In later pregnancy, too much glucose could lead to high blood pressure in the mom, a baby that is too large or born prematurely, a cesarean delivery or other life-threatening situations.

Pre-existing diabetes may also increase the risk of miscarriage and poorly controlled diabetes later in pregnancy may increase the risk of stillbirth .

But don’t panic, because paying attention now has excellent benefits.  Most of these women can look forward to having a healthy baby. While diabetes poses some risks in pregnancy, advances in care have greatly improved the outlook for these pregnancies. So make sure you get your preconception checkup, fine tune any issues and be as healthy as possible before you conceive.

Vaginal birth after c-section: Is it safe?

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

mom-with-newbornIs it safe to have a vaginal birth once a woman has had a c-section? That’s the question medical experts asked this week at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Vaginal birth after cesarean is called VBAC for short.

Some women want to deliver vaginally after they’ve had a c-section. They may want a “more natural” experience, or they may want to avoid having surgery again.

Yet many women have trouble finding a medical provider or hospital who will consider VBAC. Hospitals and providers worry about safety and about the risk of being sued.

The NIH experts concluded that, while there are risks involved, VBAC can be safe for many women. They encouraged hospitals, providers and women to work together. Everyone needs to consider the risks and benefits for the particular woman and her baby. When it makes sense, the woman should have the option to choose VBAC. The panel also called for more research.

Have you had VBAC? Or have you wanted to? Let us hear from you.

Mom had cesarean deliveries. Does that mean I will?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

baby-has-arrivedNope.  Sometimes genetics plays a part (for example, you and your mom both have a uniquely shaped uterus, a liver disease, diabetes or high blood pressure), but usually your mom’s birthing history will not impact yours. 

C-section, or cesarean delivery, can be a lifesaving operation when either you or your baby face certain problems before or during labor and delivery. Read more about reasons for cesarean section and watch our videos at this link.   Many women who deliver surgically never planned to do so, but an emergency made it necessary.  Some health care experts, however, believe that other, non-emergent c-sections are not medically necessary. A cesarean section is major surgery and should be done only when the health of the mother or baby is at risk.  Even if you had your first baby via cesarean delivery, you may or may not need to deliver a second baby that way. It all depends on the reasons for performing the first cesarean and how the incisions were placed in your body.  It’s important to discuss this with your health care provider before your next birth experience.

Infections after c-section

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

mom-with-newborn1Did you know? Women who have a c-section are more likely to develop a postpartum infection than women who have a vaginal delivery.

A new study from Denmark looked at the records of over 30,000 women who had given birth. Those who had a c-section were at increased risk of having a urinary tract infection (UTI) or a wound infection within the first 30 days after delivery. (A wound infection affects the area where the incision was made.) Other studies have also found an increased risk of infection after cesarean.

So if you have a c-section, be on the alert for these signs:

* For a UTI, watch for pain or burning when you go to the bathroom, blood in your urine, fever and the urge to go often.

* For  wound infection, watch for redness, swelling or pus around the incision site. Sometimes, the wound may open, and you may run a fever.

For more information, read the March of Dimes article on cesarean birth. Or watch our video C-Section: Recovering After Surgery.

Diabetes and pregnancy

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

You may have heard us say it before, but it’s worth saying it again – having a healthy baby starts BEFORE pregnancy! There are so many factors about mom’s health before and during pregnancy that affect how healthy her baby will be. That’s why it’s important for all women to take care of themselves and live a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true for women living with diabetes.

The USA Today published an article last week on this very topic. In fact, nearly 9 out of 100 women in the United States have diabetes. But, about 3 out of those 9 don’t know it. Managing diabetes before pregnancy (often called “preexisting diabetes”) is important to the health of both mom and baby. This is also true for women who develop gestational diabetes (when diabetes develops during pregnancy). If too much glucose (sugar) is in a woman’s blood during early pregnancy, there’s a chance that this can cause birth defects. In later pregnancy, too much glucose could lead to a baby that is too large, born prematurely, born via c-section or have other life-threatening situations.

But there is good news! By learning how to manage your diabetes before and during pregnancy, you can increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby. Here’s a few things you can do right now:
Visit your health provider regularly before and during pregnancy
• Take a multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid
• Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
• With your health provider’s OK, be active and exercise
• Learn more about managing pre-existing diabetes and gestational diabetes.

If I’ve had a c-section, can I deliver the old-fashioned way next time?

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

wondering-smallMany, many moms ask this question. So you’re in a big club!

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, many women who have had a c-section can safely have a vaginal birth the next time.

But as Time magazine recently pointed out, finding a health care provider to deliver the baby the old-fashioned way can be challenging.

If you’re interested in delivering vaginally after c-section, talk to your health care provider early. Learn about the risks and benefits of both types of delivery.

If you’ve had a vaginal birth after c-section, or if you wanted to, please tell us about your experience.

For more about c-section for medical reasons, read the March of Dimes article.

Scheduled c-section: May not be good for your baby

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

More and more women are having scheduled deliveries these days. It may be convenient for the mom and the doc. But if the delivery is too early, the baby could have problems.

Babies delivered by c-section before 39 weeks are at increased risk of breathing problems, infection, and admission to an intensive care unit. These were the findings of a new study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers looked at “elective” c-sections; that means there was no medical reason to deliver the baby early.

As you think about your delivery, remember it’s best if babies are born full-term, not early. For more info, listen to the the podcast Scheduling Baby’s Birthday by Dr. Alan Fleischman, medical director of the March of Dimes. Or read Cesarean Section by Request on our Web site.