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Risk to Baby Rises With Repeat C-Sections
Date:5/21/2009

well as cost differences.

Kamath's team further divided the women into four groups. Of the 343 repeat c-sections, 104 went into labor before the c-section and 239 did not. Of the 329 women who attempted vaginal delivery, 85 failed (for various reasons) and went on to have a c-section.

Kamath's team found that 9.3 percent of the c-section babies were admitted to the NICU, but just 4.9 percent of the vaginally delivered babies were. And while 41.5 percent of the c-section babies required oxygen in the delivery room, 23.2 percent of the vaginally delivered babies did. After NICU admission, 5.8 percent of the c-section babies needed the oxygen compared to 2.4 percent of the vaginally delivered babies.

The median hospital stay was three days for babies who were delivered vaginally and four days for the other three groups. Total costs for the c-section group averaged $8,268; for the vaginal group, $6,647.

"The failed VBAC babies required the most resuscitation and had the most expensive total birth experience," Kamath concluded. But, overall, the VBAC group did better than the c-section group in terms of hospital stay and other measures, she said.

Women who opt for a repeat c-section should first understand these risks and differences before they make their decision, Kamath said.

The study results suggest another important take-home point, according to Dr. Alan Fleischman, senior vice president and medical director for the March of Dimes, based in White Plains, N.Y. "The decision to have your first c-section is very important," he said. "There should be a clear medical indication [because] your first may dictate subsequent [delivery methods]."

Women also need to know that vaginal delivery is possible for many women who have already undergone a c-section, Fleischman said. Some hospitals do not allow vaginal delivery after a prior c-section, however, so he suggested that any woman who is planning
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