C-Section May Raise Risk of Later Pregnancy Loss

Women who have a Cesarean section may, if they become pregnant again, face a slightly elevated risk of either an ectopic pregnancy or a stillbirth–but not a miscarriage, according to a new study of Danish mothers.

Recent research has also linked c-section delivery to an elevated risk that a child will later become obese, and found that overweight women are more likely to deliver via c-section.  On a more positive note, another recent study found that the overall rate of Cesareans performed before a woman’s due date is on the decline nationwide.

HealthDay News has more on the Danish study:

Those whose baby was delivered by cesarean section had a 14 percent higher rate of stillbirth in their next pregnancy than those who had a vaginal delivery. A stillbirth is described as the death of a fetus at more than 20 weeks of gestation.

That works out to an absolute risk increase of 0.03 percent. That means that for every 3,000 cesarean deliveries, there would be one extra stillbirth in future pregnancies, the researchers explained.

They also found that women who had a cesarean delivery for their first baby were 9 percent more likely to have a future ectopic pregnancy than those who had a vaginal delivery.

That’s an absolute increased risk of 0.1 percent, which means that for every 1,000 cesarean deliveries, there would be one extra ectopic pregnancy in future pregnancies.

In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg grows in the fallopian tubes or other locations outside the uterus. It typically results in loss of the fetus and can be fatal for the mother.

Having a cesarean delivery for a first baby did not increase women’s risk of miscarriage in future pregnancies, according to the researchers at University College Cork in Ireland and Aarhus University in Denmark. A miscarriage is generally described as the spontaneous loss of a fetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnant? Keep track of your medical records in one place. 

Labor & Delivery: What to Expect in a C-Section
Labor & Delivery: What to Expect in a C-Section
Labor & Delivery: What to Expect in a C-Section

Image: Cesarean section scar, via Shutterstock

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