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Whether this is your first baby or your fourth, each childbirth experience is different and special. Complications during labor and delivery are so common that only 57 percent of women have a delivery with no maternal complications! One out of four of us have cesarean sections, a major surgical procedure. The most common complications are third and fourth degree lacerations, cervical lacerations, pelvic trauma, postpartum hemorrhage, preeclampsia, eclampsia and infection.

A Center for Disease Control (CDC) study documenting complications in labor and birth was published recently in the American Journal of Public Health (April 2003). Although it received little attention, the study shatters our na´ve view of American birthing as a safe life cycle event. I learned that 43 percent of American women who give birth, or nearly 1.7 million women annually, suffer some kind of severe maternal complication! I also learned that the CDC study was the first report of its kind to study American women during labor and delivery.

While some of these complications can be diagnosed and treated during pregnancy, many obstetric emergencies cannot be prevented. Proper diagnosis and management by a doctor or midwife is necessary to prevent the complication from becoming severe or life threatening.


Here is a list of possible complications during childbirth, some common and some quite rare:

Anesthesia Reactions
Blood Transfusion
Breech Birth
Cesarean Section
Embolism
Episiotomy
Fistulas
Forceps Delivery
Hemorrhage
Hysterectomy
Hysterotomy
Infections
Lacerations

Cervical
Perineal
Vaginal
Vestibular
Myomectomy (Uterine Fibroid Removal)
Pelvic Trauma
Preeclampsia
Psychological Trauma
Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM)
Retained Placenta
Stillbirth
Tubal Ligation
Uterine Rupture
Vacuum Extractor Delivery
VBAC Vaginal

Forty-three percent of American women who give birth, or nearly 1.7 million women annually, suffer some kind of severe maternal complication.

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