Bringing a child into the world is one of life’s most wondrous events. But unexpected complications can transform blissful peace to pure panic. Globally, cesarean sections (C-sections) account for approximately 19% of annual births. In America, however, that number is closer to one-third, or 32%, of all annual births. But can a C-section cause a birth defect or traumatic birth injury and what should the parents’ next step be if that happens?

What Is a C-Section and Why Is One Performed?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, unlike a natural pregnancy, a cesarean pregnancy or C-section delivers the baby through an incision in the uterus and abdominal wall. The procedure is usually far quicker than natural childbirth, taking only 15 minutes for delivery and another 30 minutes to stitch the incision. Anesthetics are given and surgery is required. C-sections are generally not the go-to solution for delivery, but there are some solid reasons for undergoing the procedure.

If the pregnancy has serious complications or the fetus is in distress, a C-section may be strongly recommended. If you’re pregnant with multiple births, your single fetus is large or in breech position, or you’ve had previous C-sections another may be required for safe delivery. Mothers with birth complications or diseases such as an STD or diabetes may require a cesarean delivery. Defensive medical practices can also cause a doctor to encourage or insist on a C-section to help avoid a potential malpractice suit if he or she feels natural birth may prove difficult or problematic. Advanced medical knowledge and technology have ensured most delivery options are safe, but there’s always still a risk with this type of surgery. And in some cases, a C-section can lead to a serious birth defect or traumatic birth injury.

What Problems Can Result from a C-Section?

A C-section is meant to be a quick and relatively simple procedure. However, any type of abdominal surgery can be dangerous to the patient. Add in the pregnancy factor, and those risks compound. Birth injuries are more common than you may think. In fact, they’re responsible for approximately 20% of all infant fatalities. Something as simple as the wrong dosage of anesthesia or an unexpected maternal allergic reaction can result in headaches, blood clots, low blood pressure, and internal bleeding. While those issues target the mother, they can result in multiple problems for the baby including oxygen deprivation. Premature birth, unusually low APGAR scores, and fetal injuries. While injuries are rare, an average of 1 to 2 infants out of every 100 cesarean births are accidentally cut during the procedure.

This type of defensive medicine can lead to serious malpractice due to fetal lacerations or cerebral palsy. But the mother can also suffer due to infections, adhesions, hemorrhage, and organ injuries. In worst case scenarios, approximately 6 out of 1,000 live births, a severe birth defect or traumatic birth injury can prove fatal. Fortunately, those cases are extremely rare. But medical-related birth injuries are still far too common. Contact your birth injury attorney to seek justice if a preventable birth injury threatens to affect your child’s health and happiness.