Emergency Cesarean Sections: What Are The Complications And Risks?


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Many pregnant women hope for a natural birth when it’s time for their babies to arrive, but in some cases it can be medically necessary for the mother to have an emergency cesarean for her own health and to deliver the baby safely. 

A cesarean section, also known as a c-section, is when a baby is delivered through an incision in the mother’s abdominal wall.

However, sometimes an emergency cesarean wasn’t medically necessary or complications arise from the surgery. It’s good to understand the causes and complications that could arise if you had an emergency cesarean.

What Are Some Causes Of Emergency Cesarean Sections?

Some cesarean sections are performed because of a critical situation, and others are performed to prevent one. Emergency cesarean sections have different reasons to be performed than planned ones.

One of the most common causes for an emergency c-section is when the baby is in a breech position inside the mother. Being breech means the baby is not head down in the vaginal canal. Most babies will move themselves into the correct position for birth, but if labor begins and they are still breech an emergency c-section may be necessary.

Another reason for a cesarean section is a placenta previa. This is when the uterus lies low in the cervix and could possibly be delivered before the baby during a natural delivery. If the placenta is delivered first, the baby would be in distress and without air, which could cause serious damage or death for the baby.

A cord prolapse would also be cause for a c-section. When this happens, the umbilical cord is peaking out of the cervix and protrudes through the vagina. If the mother is having contractions, it would squeeze the umbilical cord and cause blood flow to be cut off to the baby. The loss of blood flow can be potentially fatal to the baby.

If the baby has any fetal distress during natural labor, this may also be cause for an emergency c-section, to get the baby out safely and quickly. Fetal distress means the baby is not receiving enough oxygen or his or her heart is beginning to go too fast or too slow.

What Are The Complications Of Emergency Cesarean Section?

While most emergency cesarean sections are medically necessary and completely safe, during some emergency cesarean section there can be complications to the mother.

Rarely, surgical injuries can occur to the bladder or bowel. If this does happen, the mother may require more surgery to fix the issue.

Mothers suffer an increased risk of infection at the incision site of the surgery or blood clots. Women also have a risk of endometritis, which is an inflammation of the uterus wall. Endometriosis can cause fever, bleeding or discharge.

After a c-section, the mother’s face higher potential risks of complications in subsequent pregnancies than they would after a vaginal delivery. The more c-sections the mother has the higher her risks of placenta previa or a weakened uterus wall. There is also a risk of the mother’s uterus tearing open along the scar line from a prior c-section.

What Are Some Risk Factors For An Emergency Cesarean Section?

Risks can range from small to serious. Some risks include:

  • Infection
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Reaction to the anesthesia
  • Blood clots
  • Wound infection

What Should I Do If I Had Complications From An Emergency Cesarean Section?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the national cesarean birth rate was the highest ever at 32 percent. With more women having more cesarean sections, you may fear yours wasn’t medically necessary and the complications you experienced could have been prevented.

If you fear that your emergency cesarean section caused you or your baby any complications, you can contact the experienced birth injury lawyers at Ross Feller Casey for help. We have a national reputation for winning birth injury lawsuits, including those involving injuries from emergency cesarean sections.

What’s more, Ross Feller Casey has something few other firms have – a team of leading physicians and doctors who are also lawyers right on staff who successfully litigate these types of complicated cases and help your family move on.

We handle all our cases, including emergency c-section lawsuits, on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay until we win. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.