Updated 06/08/2011 08:23 AM
New Campaign Outlines C-Section Risks
More moms are choosing to have c-sections without medical reasons, which health experts say may pose unnecessary harm to newborns. NY1's Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
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The pain is immense, but Taisha Torres is still hoping her first baby comes out naturally.
"A natural birth is a lot safer than the c-section and the recovery takes a lot less time," Torres said.
But according to the National Center for Health Statistics, Torres might soon be counted as more of an exception. Since 1996, the cesarean section rate has climbed more than 50 percent. And an increasing number of those c-sections are performed on women choosing to be induced before their due date. In response to the increase, the March of Dimes is launching The 39-Week Initiative to encourage more moms to carry to full term.
"We want to encourage moms to let labor begin naturally unless of course there's a medical indication for them to have to go into labor or have a c-section," said March of Dimes Spokesperson Nelson Andino.
A growing body of research shows babies born after 39 weeks are more likely to be born at a healthy weight and less likely to suffer health complications. Now on baby number two, 38-year-old Lisa Koss' first child was born via emergency c-section. If given a choice this time she says she doesn't want to experience the complications that followed again.
"The baby had to be in the NICU for 24 hours surveillance and I was unable to breast feed my baby for those 24 hours," Koss said.
Doctors say the risks may be subtle but they still exist.
"One is the ability to suck appropriately, in order to feed appropriately. The second is the ability to fight infection because the skin is an important barrier and the closer to the due date the infant is, the stronger that barrier," said Director of Clinical Obstetrics at Maimonides Medical Center Dr. Sandra McCalla.
While the risks doctors are talking about may be relative, the March of Dimes campaign is in great part about trying to change new moms' attitudes.
"The campaign is about avoiding a cavalier type of decision based on convenience," McCalla said.
And the message isn't just for moms. The March of Dimes says it's spreading the word among more providers as well.