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CONSUMER REPORTS: Back to Basics For Safer Childbirth
Date:10/8/2008

reases maternal satisfaction, or improves outcomes for newborns.

Induced labor increases the likelihood of Caesarean section in first-time mothers.

True. The cervix might not be ready for labor. Other effects of induced labor include an increased likelihood of an epidural, an assisted delivery with vacuum extraction or forceps, and extreme bleeding postpartum.

Once you've had a C-section, it's best to do it again.

False. Studies show that, as the number of a woman's previous C-sections increased, so did the likelihood of harmful conditions, including: trouble getting pregnant again, problems delivering the placenta (placenta accreta), longer hospital stays, intensive-care (ICU) admission, hysterectomy, and blood transfusion.

Labor itself can benefit a newborn's immunity.

True. When babies do not experience labor (if the mother has a C-section before entering into labor, for example), they fail to benefit from changes that help to clear fluid from their lungs. That clearance can protect against serious breathing problems outside the womb. Passage through the vagina might also increase the likelihood that the newborn's intestines will be colonized with "good" bacteria after the sterile womb environment.

Epidural anesthesia is a low-risk way to make labor easier.

False. Many women welcome the pain relief, but might not be well-informed about the increased risk of its side-effects, including lack of mobility, sedation, fever, longer pushing, and serious perineal tears.

Epidural anesthesia presents risks to newborns.

True. Babies whose mothers received epidurals during labor are at risk for rapid heart rate, hyperbilirubinemia (the presence of and excess of bilirubin in the blood), need for antibiotics, and poorer performance on newborn assessment tests.

Episiotomies reduce the risk of perineal tearing.

False. Evidence shows that routine use of episiotomy offers no benefits but rather inc
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SOURCE Consumer Reports
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