How does maternal age relate to cesarean complications?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2020 | Medical Malpractice |

There are risks of complications with delivering a baby by either cesarean section or vaginal birth. In both cases, your risk of complications increases with age. However, research shows that risks of complications associated with cesarean section may be more significant if you are over the age of 35. 

According to NBC News, the World Health Organization has concerns that doctors perform C-sections more often than necessary, potentially putting mothers and babies at risk. The WHO recommends that only 10 percent to 15 percent of births take place via C-section. Currently, cesarean sections account for about 20 percent of births worldwide. 

Types of complications

If you have a C-section rather than a vaginal delivery, your risk of complications increases to 80 percent.

Complications include blood clots, which can lead to pulmonary embolism, as well as damage to reproductive organs and postoperative infection. For older mothers, the biggest risk associated with cesarean delivery may be excess bleeding. This may become more serious after C-section because the muscle fibers of your uterus lose the ability to contract efficiently as you age. 

Scheduling of procedure

Cesarean deliveries can happen either before or after labor starts. There are legitimate reasons to schedule a C-section and have it without first going into labor, but doing so significantly increases your risk of complications compared to younger mothers and those who deliver vaginally. 

This is not to say you cannot have a C-section if you are of advanced maternal age. Sometimes it is the only safe option. Before you agree to a C-section, however, you should clearly understand the risks, benefits and options.