C-Sections Closer to Due Date Mean Healthier Babies

Few things are more rewarding than welcoming a new child into the world. While natural births are by far the most common method of delivery, Caesarean section (C-section) surgeries are an increasingly popular way to deliver infants. In fact, they may be become too popular.

C-sections, which now account for over 31% of US births, come in two varieties: planned (or elective) and unplanned (or emergency). As the name implies, emergency C-sections are typically performed when the health of the mother or the newborn is at risk. If doctors suspect the baby is in trouble, or if labor simply is not progressing at an acceptable rate, an emergency C-section may need to be performed.

Recently, elective C-sections have become a common choice for expectant mothers. According to a newly-released study, however, planned C-sections performed prior to the 39th week of gestation could pose serious risks to the newborn. Of particular concern is the development and clearing of the infant’s lungs. Researchers believe that labor helps clear the newborn’s lungs of fluid, a benefit not available to children born by C-section. Children delivered during the 37th week are also more prone to infections and low blood sugar, and may require intensive care.

Although C-sections are popular and usually safe, early elective C-sections do carry significant risks. If you are considering a planned C-section, be sure to carefully consider the timing. Waiting until the 39th week or later will give your new family member the best chance at a happy, healthy life.