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Cesarean sections linked to developmental delays

Cesarean section deliveries are necessary in many cases to protect the health of both mother and child. In fact, failure by the doctor to notice signs of distress and order a C-section can be a form of medical malpractice, if reasonable care and attention would have avoided serious injury.

On the other hand, a C-section is invasive surgery, and complications can ensue for both patients involved, if the doctor makes a mistake. These are the concerns that responsible physicians must weigh when deciding, along with the mother, whether to do a vaginal or C-section delivery.

A new study suggests that even an apparently successful Cesarean section can affect the infant’s development. Researchers at York University say that babies born via C-section show delays in their ability to concentrate. They said that C-section infants were less able to watch faces closely, track moving objects with their eyes and respond to affection at 3-4 months than babies the same age who were born vaginally.

The study’s authors admit they do not know if this apparent correlation between Cesarean section and cognitive delays leads to any long-term effects, or if the C-section babies tend to catch up in concentration ability. Nor does an article on the study by WAOK-TV mention a possible explanation for the difference.

But it does reaffirm that there are potential consequences to every birth-related decision that obstetricians should communicate to their patients. All patients have a right to be fully informed about their medical options before they decide on a course of action.

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