By reviewing 15 years of previous research, Professor Sandall and the team found that maternal death and disability is higher after C-section than vaginal birth and leads to a more complicated recovery for the mother. The unavoidable scarring of the womb is associated with bleeding, abnormal development of the placenta, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth and preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies.
There is also emerging evidence that babies born via C-section are exposed to different hormones, environments, bacteria and medicines during birth which can subtly alter their health in later life. While the long-term risks of this are not yet well understood, the short-term effects include changes in immune development which can increase the risk of allergies and asthma and alter the bacteria in the gut.
Speaking of the team’s conclusions Professor Sandall said: