Skip to content

    Health & Pregnancy

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    New Moms Who Have C-sections More Likely to Be Rehospitalized

    By
    WebMD Health News

    May 10, 2000 -- Each year, hundreds of thousands of women in the U.S. deliver babies by cesarean section. While most women have no complications from the procedure, a small percentage are at risk for serious problems that can send them back to the hospital within the first couple of months after giving birth.

    A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that women who give birth by C-section are nearly twice as likely to be rehospitalized within 60 days of leaving the hospital after giving birth, compared with women who have an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Women who deliver vaginally by assisted methods such as forceps or vacuum extraction are 30% more likely to be rehospitalized.

    "It's a tragedy when this happens," says Peter Bernstein, MD, MPH, medical director of obstetrics and gynecology at Montefiore Medical Center's Comprehensive Family Care Center in Bronx, N.Y. "When women are rehospitalized, they usually have to be separated from their babies because few hospitals have policies that allow the baby to go back to the hospital with the mother." Bernstein was not involved in the study.

    For the study, Mona Lydon-Rochelle, MPH, PhD, and colleagues from the University of Washington in Seattle, examined medical records of more than 250,000 new mothers. They found that the primary reason for rehospitalization among women with cesarean sections was infection of the uterus. Other reasons women with C-sections needed to be rehospitalized included bleeding, gallbladder disease, genitourinary complications, problems with the surgical wounds, blood clots, and appendicitis.

    Lydon-Rochelle says the study is a heads-up to doctors that they need to do more to prevent infections and other complications that C-sections can cause in otherwise healthy young women who are giving birth for the first time. One way to do this may be to limit the number of vaginal exams performed while the woman is in labor. Another is to try to reduce the number of unnecessary C-sections being performed.

    In the U.S., C-sections are among the most frequently performed surgical procedures. A C-section may be necessary during a first or subsequent pregnancy if labor is not progressing adequately, if the baby is in the breech position (feet or rear-end first instead of head-first), or if the baby is in distress. If the mother has had a prior C-section and the scar is at risk for tearing during vaginal delivery, she may be scheduled for a repeat C-section.

    Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

    Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
    what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

    Today on WebMD

    hand circling date on calendar
    Track your most fertile days.
    woman looking at ultrasound
    Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
     
    Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
    The signs to watch out for.
    pregnant woman in hospital
    Are there ways to do it naturally?
     
    slideshow fetal development
    Slideshow
    pregnancy first trimester warning signs
    Article
     
    What Causes Bipolar
    Video
    Woman trying on dress in store
    Slideshow
     
    pregnant woman
    Article
    Woman looking at pregnancy test
    Quiz
     
    calendar and baby buggy
    Tool
    dark chocolate squares
    Slideshow