- babies delivered by C-sections before 34 weeks of pregnancy have a 30% higher risk of respiratory distress syndrome.
A recent study shows that smaller babies have an increased risk of breathing troubles when delivered early by C-sections compared to babies who are delivered vaginally. Many times, the reasons for the slower rate of growth of the baby are not known. Some common causes of the baby being small include hypertension during pregnancy, problems with the placenta, poor nutrition during pregnancy, and maternal smoking or use of alcohol.
C-sections were very common earlier when the baby was not growing at the rate it should be. There was a general belief that C-sections are helpful for the babies in such cases. The present study disproves the notion. The results of the new study were presented at the 32nd Annual Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Meeting in Dallas.
In this study, the hospital discharge data of 2,560 small babies who were delivered early were reviewed. The results show that babies delivered by C-sections before 34 weeks of pregnancy have a 30% higher risk of respiratory distress syndrome when compared to the babies born vaginally at the same age. According to Diane Ashton, medical director of the March of Dimes, a C-section does not offer any protection to babies. She also believes that a C-section should be opted for only if there is a valid reason, like a lower heart rate of the baby.
The present study has not considered any of the complications such as birth defects, or delivery requiring the use of forceps or vacuum assistance. Ashton hopes that the study will change the general notion about C-sections. C-section is a major surgery with risks to the baby and the mother.
According to James Ducey, MD, the director of maternal-fetal medicine at Staten Island University Hospital in New York, being a small baby is not a reason for C-section. It is not beneficial to the baby but risky for the mother and should be avoided.