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 Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 00:25 GMT 01:25 UK
Risks to mothers 'higher after Caesareans'
Midwife with newborn baby
Unassisted deliveries are safest for mums, says research
Women having Caesarean sections are at much greater risk of going back into hospital after giving birth than those having unassisted deliveries, say researchers.

Complications are also worse for women who have assisted vaginal delivery, the US study of more than 250,000 births suggests.

Women should not have a Caesarean unless it is clinically necessary

National Childbirth Trust
Women who have Caesareans are 80% more likely to be readmitted to a ward, while mums who have assisted vaginal delivery are 30% more likely to suffer problems requiring hospital treatment.

The number of Caesareans performed in the UK has soared in recent years - in some areas as many as a half of all births are carried out in this way.

There are fears that some women are choosing to have the procedure so the time of delivery can be accurately planned.

The researchers at the University of Washington said the onus was now on doctors and midwives to do everything possible to prevent infections following birth.

Women who had Caesareans were more likely to be taken back to hospital suffering from uterine infections, surgical wound complications, appendicitis, cardio-pulmonary conditions and gallbladder problems.

And those who had assisted vaginal delivery - where forceps were used - had a greater risk of going back into the care of doctors because of haemorrhage after birth, surgical wound complications or pelvic injury.

Risk of infection

But the authors of the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, point out that only 1.2% of all women who give birth are readmitted to hospital.

And though the risk of obstetrical surgical wound infections was a concern, the rate remained low.

Dr Mona Lydon-Rochelle at the University of Washington's school of nursing, said: "Given that rehospitalisation carries substantial consequences, including high economic costs, the disruption of early parenting and increased family burden, we think the message here is to encourage health care providers to look for even more ways to prevent infection before, during and after childbirth.

"Prevention and control strategies should be an obstetrical care priority."

The National Childbirth Trust in the UK said it advised women to avoid Caesarean sections unless medically necessary.

A spokeswoman said: "It takes six weeks to recover from a Caesarean and can take even longer. We would not be surprised by these findings.

"Women should not have a Caesarean unless it is clinically necessary - but there are times when it saves both the baby's and mother's lives."

See also:

02 May 00 | Health
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22 Nov 99 | Health
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