C-sections may increase risk of breathing problems for small babies

Last week’s news that c-sections aren’t always the best way for small babies to be delivered caught my eye. The report was presented at the 32nd annual Maternal-Fetal Medicine Meeting in Dallas, where researchers reported that babies who are small for their gestational age, aka, smaller than they “should be,” and who are delivered by c-section, are more likely to have breathing problems than if they are born vaginally.

Lots of babies are delivered early just because they are small for their gestational age (two of mine were born at 36 weeks due to their size). But a c-section delivery  “actually increases the risk of respiratory problems,” said Diane Ashton, MD, MPH, medical director of the March of Dimes, in a press release.

(Photo: March of Dimes).

My girls were both delivered on the verge of prematurity at 36 weeks because they had stopped growing. My OB put me on bed rest at 35 weeks during my second pregnancy because my belly suddenly started to measure smaller.

After three nonstress tests in less than a week, the doc decided the baby was in distress and so Julia was delivered weighing 4 lb. 14 oz. She was t-e-e-n-y but thankfully she didn’t have any issues with her breathing when she was born. (She does have bronchial asthma that flares up with seasonal allergies and when she has a cold — and now I wonder if it’s linked to her birth…)  She stayed in the NICU for a week because she wouldn’t nurse or take a bottle — a whole separate story!

When my 3rd pregnancy was heading in the same direction, my doctor again opted for bed rest. This time at 32 weeks — and with much protest from me  as I had two small kids at home! I delivered at 36 weeks again. Coco weighed an entire pound more than her sister, perhaps thanks to that inconvenient bed rest. She is the only one of my three kids who came home from the hospital with me, entirely healthy. The bed rest was worth it. (Here is my little Coco, weighing in at a healthy 5 lb. 14. oz.)

How big were your babies? If they were on the small side, did they  have breathing problems?

1 comment
  1. Lovely Coco! My baby was 6 lb. 12 oz. Plenty big for me! He was induced, as I’d had pulmonary embolisms and had to be on blood thinner for the last month of the pregnancy. We had to stop the blood thinner, birth that baby, and get back on blood thinner. All very planned and strategic. I had expected it to be more like TV … “Oh my, my water broke! Honey, time to get to the hospital!” But I’m thankful for the science that helped us survive. Important blog topic. Good job!

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