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Study on the advantages and disadvantages of Caesarean section births
The number of Caesarean sections has increased significantly in the past few years. The caesarean section (Latin for caesarean section) has both advantages and disadvantages for the mother and the child. A study summarized which they are.
More and more Caesarean births
A few years ago it was reported that there are more and more Caesarean section births and almost every third birth in Germany takes place in this way, but the numbers in Germany are now declining slightly. However, they have been increasing significantly worldwide for several years. This has advantages and disadvantages for mothers and babies. Which these were was now part of an extensive study evaluation with data from around 30 million women.
Increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth
Women who give birth by caesarean section appear to have a lower risk of having pelvic floor problems or incontinence.
However, the risk of stillbirths and miscarriages increases in future pregnancies.
This is the result of a study that was recently published in the journal "PLOS Medicine".
As part of the meta-analysis, 79 studies in which a total of almost 30 million women took part were evaluated and the long-term physical consequences of Caesarean sections compared to vaginal births were examined.
Number of Caesarean section births in Germany doubled
"The number of Caesarean section births continues to increase worldwide," says the study. According to the research team led by Oonagh Keag from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (Scotland), it was 24.5 percent in Western Europe two years ago.
In North and South America, it was significantly higher at 32 and 41 percent in 2016.
In Germany, the share of Caesarean sections in births doubled between 1991 and 2016, according to the Federal Statistical Office: the rate rose from 15.3 to 30.5 percent.
In 2015, however, there was a slight downward trend for the first time in years.
Apparently, many women are so afraid of labor and delivery that they decide against a natural birth and prefer to give birth to their child by caesarean section on a predetermined date in the operating room.
There are also numerous medical reasons for a planned procedure. For example, if the baby lies in the pelvic position or the child appears to be too large for the maternal pelvis.
However, according to health experts, the question of caesarean section or natural birth is too often decided in favor of the surgical intervention.
For many clinics in Germany this is obviously a lucrative business. An older evaluation showed that they always bill such births more often than emergency surgeries.
Little known about long-term consequences
Cesarean births are not without danger. The immediate risks of such interventions include infections, thrombosis and all the risks associated with surgery. According to the study authors, most women are aware of these dangers.
However, only a few know about the possible long-term consequences. There are only a few meaningful studies on the subject.
The scientists therefore got down to work and searched the existing scientific literature.
"Although previous systematic reviews have evaluated individual results, we have not found any other published reviews that summarize the evidence for all long-term risks and benefits of cesarean section in the mother, baby and subsequent pregnancies," said Oonagh E. Keag, according to a report from the portal " Healio ".
"There is a lack of documented evidence of medium to long-term consequences in women and their babies after a planned caesarean section or a planned vaginal birth," said the researcher.
Lower risk of urinary incontinence
As the experts found in their analysis, a cesarean section was associated with a lower risk of urinary incontinence for the mothers in the long term.
In addition, they are less likely to experience a weakened pelvic floor, which can result in a lowering of the uterus and vagina.
However, women who have had a caesarean section have a higher risk of miscarriage or stillbirth if they are pregnant again.
In addition, the risk of problems around the placenta increases.
The long-term consequences for babies born by Caesarean section were also examined.
The researchers found that children born in this way were at increased risk of developing asthma up to the age of 12 and at an increased risk of developing severe obesity up to the age of five.
A study by Israeli researchers also showed that babies born by Caesarean section were more likely to develop diabetes.
Enjoy study results with caution
As the portal "Medical Xpress" writes, the results of the current study were mainly based on observation data.
Therefore, “causality cannot be derived and the results should be interpreted with caution. In addition, the authors were unable to analyze the data after planned (elective) or emergency caesarean sections, ”the report says.
Further investigations are necessary to confirm the results. (ad)