Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lowest scalp injury risk with planned cesarean

Scalp injury during birth is a risk commonly associated with all cesarean deliveries, and therefore good reason to discourage women from choosing surgery, when in fact the vast majority occur following a planned vaginal delivery.

I explained this in the comments section of today's Daily Mail article, Caesarean 'superknife' that could spare thousands of babies from injury when surgeons cut through the mother's womb:

"Although the article talks about this being a risk with caesarean births, it's important to understand that the risk for babies is actually greatest with a planned natural birth than with a planned caesarean birth. Here's why:

The 2004-05 NHS Maternity Statistics, England, state, "Birth injury to scalp accounted for 0.9% (est. 5,400) births but none related to elective caesarean.”

The 2005-06 NHS Maternity Statistics, England states, "There were very few such cases where delivery was spontaneous, or where the baby was delivered by caesarean section; but scalp injury was reported in about 5% of instrumental deliveries.

The 2010-11 NHS Maternity Statistics, England has a table that reads, "Birth injury to scalp, 1% (n.6,659). This increased risk with planned natural birth is evident in published research too."

(Note: I have to write 'natural' in comments because the word 'vaginal' isn't accepted.)

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