Planned C-section deliveries safe for low-risk pregnancies, researchers conclude

OTTAWA, Ontario — The prospect of a cesarean delivery can be concerning for any expecting mother, and it’s easy to understand why. The notion delivering a child surgically through the stomach isn’t exactly a walk in the park. However, researchers in Canada report C-sections which the expectant mother actually plans for are nothing to worry about.

Specifically, Canadian Medical Association researchers say planned cesarean deliveries performed at the patient’s request are safe for low-risk pregnancies. The study finds planned C-sections deliveries may have a link to lower chances of complications in comparison to vaginal births.

“Our finding that caesarean deliveries on maternal request (CDMR) rates have remained stable in Ontario provides reassurance to those concerned about the potential contribution of CDMR to rising cesarean delivery rates,” says Dr. Darine El-Chaâr from the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Newborn Care at The Ottawa Hospital, in a media release.

Study authors analyzed data from 422,210 low-risk pregnancies over the course of six years (2012-2018) for this project. Those records include 46,533 cesarean deliveries, with 1,827 (3.9%) coming at the request of the mother.

Mothers requesting a C-section tended to be Caucasian, over the age of 35, and conceived through in vitro fertilization. These women were also most likely to be delivering their first baby and live in high-income neighborhoods.

The analysis reveals C-sections due to maternal request and vaginal deliveries are both safe options for mother and child. As far as possible long-term effects from C-sections, researchers stress they will need perform more studies to reveal them.

“Although our study addresses concerns related to the immediate implications of planned CDMR, exploration of longer-term risks is needed, including its impact on breastfeeding, and the child’s risk for infection and respiratory illness,” the study concludes.

The study appears in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.