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Was your Caesarean necessary?

One of the factors to be considered when deciding whether a woman will need to deliver her baby via Caesarean section is the size of the baby.

Recent research indicates that predicting the size of a baby at birth is imprecise at best. Findings published last month in Maternal and Child Health Journal determined that moms-to-be who were told by their obstetricians that their babies would be large — 8 lbs, 13 oz. or more — had almost five times the rate of C-sections. However, the majority of those mothers gave birth to babies that weighed less than that.

Given the imprecise nature of predicting birth size, it's important to consider how these doctors' recommendations affect a woman's confidence that she will be able to have a vaginal delivery.

One lawyer in another state had an ultrasound that suggested the birth weight of her baby could be more than 11 lbs. She alleges that her physicians "bullied" her into agreeing to a C-section. Yet her baby wound up weighing less than 8 lbs.

The lawyer and new mom told the New York Times that her Caesarean was not only unnecessary but could be the cause of her son's breathing problems at birth. Respiratory complications are more common in babies born via C-section.

Of all the babies born here in America, fewer than 8 percent qualify as "large babies" under that medical definition. But almost a third of the births here in the United States are by C-section. Just how many of those C-sections were influenced by inflated estimates of projected fetal birth weights is undetermined.

Assessing a baby's birth size while it's still in utero is complicated and based on inexact procedures known as Leopold maneuvers. They include the mother's size, her abdominal tone and the position of the baby. An ultrasound image is a handy obstetrical tool, but one that's frequently inaccurate when predicting birth weight.

If you or your baby experienced birth complications due to an unnecessary C-section, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Source: Yahoo, "Are Women Being Tricked Into Having C-sections?," Beth Greenfield, Jan. 12, 2016

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