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The risks of uterine rupture following a C-section

Every year, countless people in Berkshire County and throughout the rest of the U.S. welcome new babies into their families. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 32 percent of those newborn babies are delivered via cesarean section. Following a C-section, the resulting scar left along a woman’s uterine wall can be at risk of ripping open during subsequent pregnancies, leading to what’s known as a uterine rupture.

Women who attempt a vaginal delivery following a C-section have been shown to be at an increased risk of rupture. Data compiled by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and shared by the American Academy of Family Physicians shows that the incidence if uterine rupture was between 0.2 and 1.5 percent among women who’ve had a previous cesarean. The risk rises to as high as 3.9 percent for women with a history of multiple C-sections. 

In cases of uterine rupture, a mother can experience severe blood loss, anemia, and even hypovolemic shock. The more serious dangers typically face the baby, who can be at risk of hypoxia or anoxia, fetal acidosis, and even death.

In pregnancies that have been closely monitored and in which a uterine rupture is detected quickly, rapid surgical intervention can often save both mother and baby from any serious birth injuries. Clinical mistakes, however, will often result in dire consequences. Such mistakes can include:

  •          Unfamiliarity with a mother’s history of C-sections
  •          A lack of continuous fetal monitoring during labor
  •          Failure to immediately detect and/or diagnose the rupture
  •          A delay in the decision to perform an emergency C-section

Patients are encouraged to remain actively involved in decision-making during both their prenatal care and deliveries to help mitigate the risks of a rupture from occurring. 

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