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C-sections come with serious risks

As you prepare to become a mother for the first time or again, you may prepare mentally for the possibility of an emergency C-section. Your goal may be a natural birth, but knowing that complications can occur, you probably keep this possibility in the back of your mind.

Even though the medical community may consider a C-section a routine procedure, it still counts as a major surgical procedure that comes with risks to you. In fact, if you are age 35 or older, the risk only increases.

A look at the risks you face

Since your body is designed for a vaginal delivery, it probably doesn't surprise you that researchers discovered that a C-section increases your risk of serious complications by an alarming 80% over a natural birth. If you are 35 or older, your risk triples over a natural birth. If you have a C-section before you go into labor, you face five times the risk of complications over a vaginal delivery. The complications you could face include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Serious bleeding
  • Organ dysfunction
  • Stroke

This list does not include all of the potential complications that you could experience. In fact, the study did not include women with pre-existing conditions that could add to the list of possible complications. Even after identifying these issues, sources attempt to downplay them by saying they only tend to happen in about 1.5% of all C-sections. That may be comforting to some, but if you become part of that small percentage, it could have ramifications to the rest of your life.

The complications could also extend to a subsequent pregnancy. Under ordinary circumstances, the risk of rupturing your uterus is approximately one out of every 20,000. After a prior C-section, the risk jumps to just one out of every 200. That represents a significant risk. If your baby's life is at risk, you probably won't even consider the risks to you, but the medical staff attending your labor and birth should. If they don't, you are the one who pays the price.

What can you do if something goes wrong?

You could experience complications through no fault of your doctor, but the potential for negligence on his or her part does exist. If you believe the doctor who performed your C-section made an error that caused you harm, it is worthwhile to obtain a full evaluation of your case to determine whether pursuing a medical malpractice claim could be appropriate.

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