New research, a joint project between researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the University of Western Australia, highlighted the risks associated with caesarean section deliveries for both the mother and the child involved in the procedure.
The research is the biggest ever analysis on the health effects of caesarean sections, establishing the long-term risks that are linked with the procedure.
Caesarean Section Risks For Women
Rates of childbirth through caesarean section deliveries are increasing worldwide. In some cases, there is no medical need for such a procedure, but women elect to go with it anyway.
The study, published in the PLOS Medicine journal, looked to identify the long-term risks and benefits of childbirth through caesarean delivery. It involved analyzing data from 80 different studies that included nearly 30 million women.
"The short-term associations of caesarean delivery are well-described in the literature, but women are less informed of the long-term risks and benefits of caesarean on themselves, their offspring and their future pregnancies," the researchers wrote.
For the mother, caesarean section deliveries decreased the risk of pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence. However, the risks outweigh the benefits, as the procedure placed future pregnancies at an increased risk of stillbirth by 17 percent and miscarriage by 27 percent, including problems with the placenta.
The researchers hold back in directly connecting the risks with caesarean deliveries, but they said that both women and doctors should know the long-term risks associated with the procedure.
Caesarean Section Risks For Children
The dangers associated with caesarean section, however, are not limited to mothers, as the children that were delivered through the procedure also faced increased risk on some health issues.
The analysis discovered that the risk for childhood obesity under five years old was higher by 59 percent if the child was delivered through a caesarean section, echoing a previous study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. In addition, the chance of developing asthma by 12 years old is higher by 21 percent.
There is growing evidence that deliveries through caesarean section affect the development of a child's immune system and gut bacteria. In addition, a significant number of women choose to deliver their babies this way because of their own obesity issues, which affect the health of the baby.
Avoid Caesarean Section Health Risks
Women who would like to avoid the caesarean section risks should eat a healthy diet and engage in physical exercise, according to a study published last year. This would allow for a better chance of normal childbirth with no complications.
Caesarian section deliveries have also apparently influenced human evolution, resulting in an increased rate of babies that do not fit through the mother's birth canal.