Women who first gave birth through caesarean section are 14 percent more at risk of stillbirth in their second baby compared with those who first gave birth naturally.
Based on a new study, a caesarean delivery slightly increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy in women in their future pregnancies as well. However, the researchers note that risk for these complications is very low. Caesarean rates have increased globally and researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark and University College Cork in Ireland were interested in studying these pregnant women and their partners and caregivers.
The researchers studied 833,000 first-time mothers who gave birth via caesarean section. The study was controlled for possibilities that Caesarean sections were done due to complications experienced during pregnancy. The team suggests that a caesarean section increases the absolute stillbirth risk by 0.03 percent. This means that for every 3,000 caesarean sections, there is one stillbirth. A stillbirth is a fetus that dies after over 20 weeks of gestation.
"The findings of the current study are particularly important for expectant mothers as well as health care professionals as Caesarean section rates are increasing significantly worldwide. Whilst we showed that a previous Caesarean section is associated with a subsequent stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy, the overall risk of either is very low," researcher and professor Louise Kenny said. The team assures expectant mothers that the overall stillbirth or ectopic pregnancy risk is still small even if it has slightly elevated.
The researchers found that those who had a C-section birth for their first pregnancy were nine percent more at risk to an ectopic pregnancy than those who had vaginal deliveries. It represents the absolute ectopic pregnancy risk by 0.1 percent. This means that for every 1,000 caesarean sections, there is one ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg develops in the woman's fallopian tubes or any other location outside her uterus. It usually leads to the loss of the fetus and can also be deadly for the mother.
Women having caesarean deliveries for their first born do not increase their risk of miscarriage in their future pregnancies. A miscarriage is typically characterized as the spontaneous loss of the fetus within 20 weeks of gestation.