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Doc warns of womb risks in C-sections

The big increase in women choosing Caesarean sections can leave them at a higher risk of losing their wombs, it has been claimed.

Professor Michael Turner, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and former master at the Coombe Women's Hospital, said that research into nearly 900,000 women's deliveries showed a steep rise in the number of mothers using C-sections in Ireland.


The number of women having Caesareans rose from 6pc in 1966 to 19pc in 2005.

And now, one in four babies is delivered by C-section throughout the country.

However, this is putting women at higher risk of developing complications during additional births which could potentially force doctors to perform a Caesarean hysterectomy -- ending the possibility of having any more children.

Women who have had two or more Caesareans are at highest risk of having their wombs removed.

This is linked to the placenta growing abnormally, and a woman may bleed excessively during a later delivery which can only be treated by a hysterectomy.

Although the rate of Caesarean hysterectomies in Ireland is still low on an international level, with one in 1,000 births, and in the Coombe at one in 5,000 births -- two to three of the procedures are carried out there each year. Prof Turner said that there was no medical need to deliver a baby by Caesarean section, and urged fellow doctors to consider the long-term effects of the decision.


His latest research, which has been published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, suggests that there are social pressures put on expectant mothers to undergo a C-section, but a proper analysis needed to be done first.

"A Caesarean section is the right decision in most instances but on some occasions it is the soft option.

"It may not be the best option in the long term and should not be done for social reasons," he said.