Considering or planning for an elective cesarean? Fit Pregnancy’s June/July issue includes a good reminder: every week counts! When mama’s reaching the end of her pregnancy and growing increasingly uncomfortable and increasingly excited about meeting baby, it’s hard to wait out all 40 weeks. According to the New England Journal of Medicine as reported by Fit Pregnancy, “36% of elective C-sections are performed before 39 weeks, putting newborns at risk for complications.”
“Being born by elective Cesarean section at 39 weeks – just one week early – increases a baby’s risk of health problems, such as feeding and breathing difficulties, according to a study of women undergoing repeat C-sections. The researchers noted that babies delivered at 41 and 42 weeks are also at higher risk for complications. ‘We found there’s a very tiny window between 39 and 40 weeks where baby outcomes are optimal, ‘ said co-author John Thorp, M.D.”
And therein lies one of the main drawbacks to elective cesarean – that “very tiny window” of timing for baby’s ideal birthday. Instead of allowing our bodies and babies to choose, we are “taking the baby” (as it’s so often said) at our convenience. Scientists are still working to understand the complicated symphony of communication and cooperation between baby and mama that results in spontaneous labor. If you’re set on an elective cesarean, give your baby that last week and aim for a 40-week pregnancy.