“The Problem Is Only Beginning To Mushroom”

“The problem is only beginning to mushroom,” stated Carolyn Zelop, ACOG member,in regards to the increasing risk of cesarean deliveries. She was interviewed for the recent Time article, “The Trouble with Repeat Cesareans.”

I have linked to the study Zelop was referring to on our Resource Index page, but am quoting from the abstract here:

RESULTS: The prevalence of delivery hospitalizations (per 1,000) complicated by at least one severe obstetric complication increased from 0.64% (n_48,645) in 1998-1999 to 0.81% (n_68,433) in 2004–2005. Rates of complications that increased significantly during the study period included renal failure by 21% (from 0.23 to 0.28), pulmonary embolism by 52% (0.12 to 0.18), adult respiratory distress syndrome by 26% (0.36 to 0.45), shock by 24% (0.15 to 0.19), blood transfusion by 92% (2.38 to 4.58), and ventilation by 21 % (0.47 to 0.57). In logistic regression models, adjustment for maternal age had no effect on the increased risk for these complications in 2004–2005 relative to 1998–1999. However, after adjustment for mode of delivery, the increased risks for these complications in 2004–2005 relative to 1998–1999 were no longer significant, with the exception of pulmonary embolism (odds ratio 1.30) and blood transfusion (odds ratio 1.72). Further adjustment for payer, multiple births, and select comorbidities had little effect.
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CONCLUSION: Rates of severe obstetric complications increased from 1998–1999 to 2004–2005. For many of these complications, these increases were associated with the increasing rate of cesarean delivery.

As the cesarean rate in the USA races higher by the day, indeed we must be headed toward some sort of explosion! Implosion? I don’t know what to call it, but Zelog’s reference to a “mushroom” brings to mind the image of a nuclear explosion. And that scares me! A lot!

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