A recent study published in the American Medical Association’s JAMA Surgery journal has highlighted that women who undergo a cesarean section when giving birth face a greater risk of medical complications later in life if they need to undergo a hysterectomy. Cesarean sections are the most common major surgeries performed worldwide, with an estimated rate of 18.6% worldwide and a cesarean section rate of 32.0% in the United States.
The study looked at nearly 7,700 women who had given birth between 1993 and 2012 and who later in life underwent benign hysterectomies. Five percent of the women studied had to be reoperated within 30 days of their hysterectomy. Compared with the women who had only delivered babies vaginally, those who had at least one cesarean section had a 31 percent greater risk of reoperation, while those who had two or more cesarean sections had a 35 percent greater risk of reoperation. Those women who had two or more cesarean deliveries were also more likely to have received blood transfusions.
Cesarean sections are becoming more common, especially in the developed world where women are increasingly scheduling the dates on which they deliver their children rather than allowing childbirth to take its natural course. While advances in medicine have made cesarean sections easier to undergo, the fact still remains that a cesarean section is a major piece of abdominal surgery that requires lengthy recovery times and can have lasting complications, both major and minor. While this latest study highlighted some of the future health ramifications, there is still a great deal that is unknown about the future health effects of cesarean sections.