Are C-Sections Healthy For Baby?

More and more pregnant women are choosing to have cesareans.
In fact, c-sections are up 41-percent in the past decade, but is it healthy for the baby?

A new study has many doctors concerned.

The Centers for Disease Control looked at nearly six million birth records, and paid close attention to women who delivered by cesarean section with no reported medical reason for doing so.

Dr. Marian Mac Dorman of the Centers for Disease Control says, "Even though we don't know exactly that it's elective c-sections, it probably the best approximation we can make."

The CDC found twice as many of those babies died in the first month, compared to vaginal births, even when other complications are excluded.


Experts say that by coming through the birth canal excess fluid is squeezed from the baby's lungs, making them healthier.

There’s less risk of damage from surgery, and moms can breastfeed sooner.

So why do some women choose c-sections?

Obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. David Downing of Washington Hospital Center states, "I think it's perceived to be an easier way to have a baby."

But Dr. Downing says he steers patients away from voluntary cesareans, citing the risks of major surgery and a long recovery.

Dr. Downing says, "Moms should know the downside. Even though it may seems initially an easier way to have a baby, the potential long-term conditions should be thought about beforehand."

Critics note that because birth records often don't accurately reflect whether a cesarean was medically necessary, this study could be comparing apples to oranges.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says there's no right answer, and leaves the decision up to patients and their doctors.

Doctors say most women who choose to have c-sections are older.

Usually, they don't have their first child until after age 35.

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