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Early c-sections may result in health risks for the baby

Rates of Caesarian section delivery are up sharply in the US, and many women are choosing to schedule their c-sections a week or two before their full-term due date. But new research finds that babies born even a week early are at increased risk for health problems, and longer stays in the hospital. Once a woman has delivered one baby by Caesarian section, many doctors often automatically schedule her for a repeat C-section for any subsequent births. The American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends waiting until 39 weeks to have the c-section so that the baby has time to finish developing in the womb. But a new study finds that 36% of repeat c-sections occur before the 39th week, placing the babies at risk for a variety of health problems. Researchers from the University of Alabama studied more than 13,000 babies born through scheduled c-sections and found those born just a week or two early were more likely to need intensive care, suffer breathing problems or low blood sugar levels. Experts say doctors and women often choose early c-sections for convenience, so the doctor will be available and the woman can lessen her discomfort from pregnancy. But these findings show that, for the baby's health, waiting is better, and even a few extra days can make a big difference.

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