Having a Cesarean delivery may increase the risk of having a stillbirth in a second pregnancy, researchers said. Doctors at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, England, who studied data on 120,000 births in Scotland between 1992 and 1998, found that stillbirths were higher among women who had previously had a child by Cesarean section.
"Delivery by Cesarean section in the first pregnancy could increase the risk of unexplained stillbirth in the second," Gordon Smith, who headed the research team, said Friday in a report in The Lancet medical journal.
"Our best estimate is that for every 1,000 women with a previous Caesarean section, there will be one additional stillbirth in comparison if they hadn't had a previous Caesarean section," he added in an interview.
Doctors are not sure why the surgery increases the risk of stillbirth but they suspect that repairing the uterus after the surgery could affect the function of the placenta, which nourishes the fetus, in a future pregnancy.
Scarred tissue also works less well than unscarred tissue.
"This is a factor that women should take into account when deciding to have a Caesarean section," Smith said. "Our results are of relevance for women considering Caesarean delivery who are planning future pregnancies."
Reuters Friday, November 28, 2003; Page A16 LONDON, Nov. 27