Labour plans: C-section risks

SmartParents consultant Ob-Gyn Dr Christopher Chong lifts the (surgical) veil on the dark side of having a Caesarean Section.


If the thought of a painful natural birth scares you or your hubby, you might already have considered undergoing a Caesarean section (C-section).

According to authors of a World Health Organisation report in 2010, an estimated 18.5million C-sections were performed globally on an annual basis, accounting for more than a quarter of births in China (25.9 per cent) and 17.4 per cent of births in Thailand — its popularity is showing no signs of abating. But like all invasive surgeries, as we found out from Gleneagles obstetrician-gynecologist Dr Christopher Chong, C-sections are not without their risks.

          It is a surgical procedure when your Ob-Gyn makes a small horizontal incision above your pubic bone (called a “bikini cut”). From that incision, the doctor will work his way to your uterus, making a horizontal cut in the lower part of it, reaching in to pull out your baby before cutting the umbilical cord. After clearing the placenta, he will then stitch you up.

          A large part of the risk in the procedure revolves around how well the wound heals. Dr Chong notes that there is the possibility of multiple or even irregular tears that can result. If these tears do not heal well, a womb infection can result: The symptoms of an infection can range from heavy bleeding, smelly discharge and a high fever.


“Talk to your doctor if you experience heavy bleeding, smelly discharge and a high fever – signs you might have a womb infection.”


         Furthermore, as your doctor is likely to have to work through layers of tissues and past various organs before he reaches your uterus, expectant mothers should be cautious of the possibility of injury to surrounding organs, notes Dr Chong.

          The risk of such injuries to the intestines and bladder, for instance, as a result of your C-section is very low. But such injuries can mean heftier bills and an arduous journey to full recovery — all while having to care for bubba!

          Going through with a C-section means that you might be at a greater risk of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). It is a serious health condition where a blood clot forms in a vein in your body — often the veins in the thigh or lower legs. Dr Chong adds that if you have spent much of your pregnancy in a sedentary state or had a prolonged labour before the operation, it can also increase your risk of suffering from DVT.


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