Thursday, January 8, 2009

Early cesarean deliveries increase risks for babies, study finds

Elective C-sections performed before 39 weeks of pregnancy multiply the chance of serious complications, according to an analysis of more than 13,000 births. Thousands of women put their babies at needless risk of respiratory problems, hypoglycemia and other medical ailments by scheduling cesarean deliveries too early, according to an analysis of more than 13,000 births published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Elective cesarean sections performed after 37 or 38 weeks of pregnancy had up to four times the risk of serious complications compared with procedures done after 39 weeks. Even deliveries that were just one, two or three days shy of 39 weeks carried a 21% increased risk of complications, the study found.
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