Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cesarean Sections carry up to FOUR TIMES greater risk of dying...

I woke up this morning to this story in my inbox. I created a Google Alert for anything related to Cesareans.

One more woman is dead, after a "routine" cesarean section, a baby has suffered complications from the surgery...and now that baby has to grow up without a mother. Her husband has to raise a child on his own.

It absolutely blows me away that women believe that cesareans are safe. Some even say that it is safer than a vaginal birth. The risk of dying during a cesarean is roughly 1 in 2,500. The risk of dying during a vaginal birth is roughly 1 in 10,000. A cesarean carries about a 4 times greater risk of dying than a vaginal birth. So how is major surgery safer?

Women don't see it as major surgery. Hell, everyone is having a cesarean now. Most celebrities, women who elect to have one so that they don't tear ( because THAT'S a logical reason for wanting major abdominal surgery! ), or because they had a previous cesarean and their doctors scare them into believing a VBAC is too dangerous, or because they believe it's the only way to deliver breech babies or twins. Some elect for a cesarean so that they don't have to go through the pain of labor - completely forgetting or being unaware of the recovery after, oh yeah, MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY. I had a relatively "easy" recovery after mine. However, you never realize just how much you use your abdominal muscles for *everything*, until they've been severed, and you can't use them without excruciating pain. ( Unless you've chosen to drug yourself through recovery ) I couldn't laugh, sneeze, cough, sit up, roll over in bed, lean over, sit up straight, without horrible pain for at least a week after my cesarean. And yet, mere hours after my HBAC I was up having dinner with my family, the next day feeling no pain whatsoever. ( After I pushed out a 10.10lb, posterior baby girl out of my vagina! )

When will women understand? What's it going to take? More women dying? More babies being left motherless? We've had several cesarean deaths in the past 2 years. Two of them, at the same hospital, only weeks apart. Most hospitals have a sky high cesarean rate, and most have a very low VBAC rate. Women think that they can go into the hospital and birth with a trained surgeon, and they'll be fine as long as they have their doctor sign their birth plan. This is naivety at best. An Obstetrician is a trained surgeon. What do you think is going to happen at the first sign of any *possible* trouble?

Roughly 1 in every 3 women who birth in the hospital, will walk out( or, more accurately, be wheeled out ) recovering from *MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY*. This is why low-risk women need to stay away from the hospital for birth. It's not the right place to be if you want to give your baby the best possible birth, and give you the best possible chance to avoid major surgery.

Anyway, here is the story:

For the first time in more than 10 years, a patient at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has died while undergoing a caesarean section, the hospital reported yesterday.

The mother died Friday, and the baby experienced complications but appears to be improving, Dr. Kenneth Sands, the hospital's senior vice president of healthcare quality, said in a brief statement.

"This sad and very rare event appears to relate to an unanticipated complication at the time the baby was delivered by caesarean section," it read.

"We immediately launched an internal review and have reported to the Department of Public Health. This is obviously a very sad and distressing event for our staff . . . who have not experienced a loss like this for over 10 years. We continue to extend our deepest sympathy to the family."

The patient's name and other medical details were not disclosed.

The risk of death from a caesarean section is estimated at fewer than 1 in 2,500, according to information on the hospital's website.

That is significantly more than the roughly 1-in-10,000 risk of death during a vaginal birth.


Emily said...

It's just so ignorant how, when mentioning home birth, people bring up the possibility that you could DIE in birth...well, women and children *still die* in or soon after birth, and in greater numbers than 20-some-odd other countries. It is appalling how cavalier people are about having major, invasive surgery.

Gombojav Tribe said...

I just tagged you for a meme!

litameadows said...

I had to have another abdominal surgery 10 months after having my son because of my C-sec. I had major scar tissue that adhered many of my "female parts" (uterus, bladder, lower intestines, and ovaries) to my abdominal wall. Oh and the biggie, my uterus and bladder were fused together. It is only by the grace of God that everything went well, but if I knew what I know now, things might have went differently with the birth of my son. I was in pain for a couple of months before they found out that I wasn't crazy and something was actually wrong! I had a hard time recovering from the second surgery both physically and emotionally. That is why I have opted to have a HBAC. I know all will be well, and have faith that this journey will help me to help other moms believe that this is possible!