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Cesarean Deliveries Up, So are Complications

January 23, 2009

Des Moines, IA – A new report finds the constant increase in the number of cesarean births in Iowa over the years could be linked to a corresponding increase in severe complications for mothers. The number of cesarean births in the U.S. and in Iowa has jumped 50 percent in the last decade.

Lisa Houchins, executive director of the Iowa chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network, says a report published in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology finds a similar increase in severe medical complications for mothers.

"The interesting part was that several of the complications increased over the seven-year period and those increases seem to be associated with the increase in caesarean delivery. "

Houchins says, while the study doesn't prove that C-sections cause complications, tracking those complications could be useful.

"It’s important that we keep these results in mind when women have cesareans. Cesarean surgery is major surgery and so we want to make sure it is reserved for cases where it’s truly life-saving."

The report found a 50 percent increase in pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots in the lungs, as well as a 20-percent increase in rates of kidney failure, respiratory distress syndrome, and shock.

Dick Layman/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - IA