Monday, January 7, 2008

A Clearly Defined Risk of Cesarean Birth: Hysterectomy

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ “Green Journal” contains some enlightening news in the January 2008 issue that every pregnant woman should know. It’s contained in a report about a very recent study titled, “Cesarean Delivery and Peripartum Hysterectomy” -- Obstetrics & Gynecology, Knight et al, 2008; 111:97-105-

Check it out here:

I hope you have a friend with access to the medical journal who can get you a copy of the complete study. It’s a great resource to keep on hand… and to give to anyone who has been told that “cesarean is about equally safe when compared to vaginal birth”!

The study was a population-based, matched case-control study that studied 318 women who underwent peripartum (around the time of birth) hysterectomy between February 2005 and February 2006 and 614 matched control women. The study was done in the United Kingdom, using the United Kingdom Obstetric Surveillance System.

The conclusion of the study was:

Peripartum hysterectomy is strongly associated with previous cesarean delivery, and the risk rises with increasing number of previous cesarean deliveries, maternal age over 35 years, and parity (number of pregnancies carried to over 28 weeks) greater than 3.

Here are a few of the most interesting and relevant findings of the study:

Women who were having their first cesarean delivery were approximately 7.13 times more likely to end up with a hysterectomy (as compared to an equal control group having a vaginal delivery instead) by the time it was all over.

By the time it was the woman’s second or more cesarean delivery, her risk of hysterectomy was over 18 times greater than the woman having a vaginal birth!

~Women undergoing their first vaginal delivery were found to have a
1 in 30,000 chance of having a peripartum hysterectomy

~Women undergoing their first cesarean delivery were found to have a
1,700 chance of having a peripartum hysterectomy.

~Women undergoing their second cesarean delivery were found to have a
1 in 1,300 chance of having a peripartum hysterectomy

~Women undergoing their third or more cesarean delivery were found to have a
1 in 220 chance of peripartum hysterectomy.

ACOG’s journal said it themselves:

“This study has confirmed the significant risk of peripartum hysterectomy associated with prior cesarean delivery. These data provide evidence that cesarean delivery leads to a greater than seven times increase in the odds of having a peripartum hysterectomy to control hemorrhage. A similar risks was noted in a recent U.S. study using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. We have also been able to identify that the risk also then extends beyond the initial cesarean delivery into subsequent deliveries; women who have more than one previous cesarean delivery have more than double the risk of peripartum hysterectomy in the next pregnancy, and women who have had two or more previous cesarean deliveries have more than eighteen times the risk. This full quantification of these risks provides the evidence needed to comprehensively counsel women about the risks of primary cesarean delivery and to counsel against cesarean delivery without a specific medical indication.”

The article winds up with a statement:

“Although fortunately a rare condition, peripartum hysterectomy nevertheless represents a catastrophic (and sometimes fatal) end to a pregnancy for any woman, regardless of whether she considers her family to be complete.”

Kudos to your obstetrician if s/he brings up this info when informing you of the risk of Cesarean section birth!

1 comment:

HERS Foundation said...

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