The New York Times reports today on a study of over 5.7 million births in the US (between 1999 and 2001) that the neonatal mortality rate for Caesarean deliveries was 1.5 times that for vaginal births (at 1.77 deaths per 1000 live births). There is speculation only as to why the difference exists but it is statistically significant and certainly food for thought. One can only wonder how this interacts with evidence that suggests that birth timing is a choice made for reasons other than the purely medical (click here).
It is interesting to couple this report with one in The Age last weekend that about a third of all women who have inducements end up having emergency caesarians. However, it is not clear that this effect is statistically significant.
Its research showed that 38 per cent of first-time mothers who were 37 or more weeks pregnant with a single baby required emergency operations after medical intervention in their labour. Those who had emergency surgery outnumbered those who gave birth naturally (35 per cent) or with assistance using instruments (28 per cent).
Inducements are the other form of planned birth timing. One can only imagine that emergency C-sections carry even greater risks than planned ones.