Saturday, August 12, 2006

C-sections: How many lives do they save, how many lives do they cost?

Homebirth advocates consistently blast the high level of C-sections in this country. One of the issues that they raises again and again is the potential complications from C-section. So here's my question. How many lives do C-sections save every year and how many lives do they cost? Feel free to include mortality from C-sections that occurs long after the actual surgery (if you can find any evidence that shows that such a thing happens).

Homebirth advocates also claim that there is more to safety than mortality. I'm not sure that I agree that morbidity figures are as important to people as they assume. Nonetheless, let's take a look at that, too. How much morbidity do C-sections cause and how much morbidity do they prevent? Keep in mind that the amount of morbidity (and associated costs) is quite high if a child is brain injured at birth.

I know that homebirth advocates have a sense that the morbidity and late mortality of C-sections is much higher than convential wisdoms suggests, but is there really any evidence that this is the case? I suspect that there is a lot less than homebirth advocates assume.

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