Caesarean section: Do C-section births affect human evolution? Things you need to know
A caesarean section, also known as c-section, is the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus.
New Delhi: Caesarean section deliveries have become more popular throughout the world, and the trend is skyrocketing in India.
What is a c-section? How is it done?
A caesarean section, also known as c-section, is the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother's abdomen and uterus. A cesarean delivery is often performed when a vaginal birth would put the baby or mother at risk.
Despite the risk, many women are opting for C-section deliveries nowadays, simply because they want to avoid labour pain or coincide with certain events although there are no complications with their pregnancies.
It it believed that demographic changes and shifts in maternal health may have contributed to the rise in the use of C-sections in recent decades.
Risks and benefits of C-section birth
Here are some important things you need to know about C-section delivery:
- A Caesarean-section typically takes 45 minutes to an hour and may be done with a spinal block such that the woman is awake or under general anesthesia. It is performed upon request.
- Just like any other operation, a caesarean delivey has some risks. A caesarean section is associated with risks of postoperative adhesions, incisional hernias (which may require surgical correction), blood clot and wound infections.
- Babies born through C-sections are likely to develop breathing problems, particularly, if the baby is premature.
- Being born by caesarean increases risk of your baby developing asthma in childhood.
- Evidence suggests that a C-section delivery may also slightly increase the baby's risk of becoming overweight, although more research is needed to understand this link.
- Women who had caesarean sections are more likely to have problems with later pregnancies. Because having had a caesarean increases a woman's risk of having a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia) - a complication of pregnancy that causes the placenta to tear away from the uterus.
Although caesarean sections are lifesaving for the mother and baby in many cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that they should be done based on medical need.
C-sections may be altering course of human evolution
While caesarean section deliveries can save lives when babies are too large to be born naturally - or if there are other health complications - they also appear to be affecting how humans are evolving, as per a latest study.
Using a simple mathematical model, researchers from Austria and the United States estimated that the regular use of C-sections has led to a 10 to 20% increase in the gap between female pelvis width and babies’ size, which they dubbed the phenomenon 'fetopelvic disproportion'.