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International Caesarean Awareness Month


Author: Sara Westwood

Clinical Negligence

Pregnant Mother opting for a caesarean section?

Caesarean Awareness Month is a campaign that aims to improve maternal-child health by providing education and support for women who have experienced a caesarean section. Running internationally every April, it aims to raise awareness of practical complications as the number of mothers opting for c-sections increases across the globe and 1 in 4 births in the UK.

There are a variety of reasons why a woman may give birth by caesarean section. Every birth is different, and the procedure may be planned or as the result of an emergency during labour. However, as in all major surgeries, there is a risk of injury to the mother.

What is a Caesarean Section?

A Caesarean section, also known as a c-section, is an operation to surgically deliver a baby via incisions made to the front wall of the mother’s abdomen and uterus. Whether planned or as an emergency, the procedure will begin with a routine IV and either spinal or epidural anaesthesia to numb the lower part of the body. However, in some cases, general anaesthetic may be required, such as instances when the baby needs to be delivered more quickly.

A screen is placed across the mother’s body to prevent her from seeing, although doctors and nurses will communicate with her throughout the operation. A cut is made to the abdomen and womb ranging from 10-20cm long, and the baby will be delivered through the opening.

Once delivered, and without complications, the baby will be brought over to the mother. An injection of the hormone Oxytocin is administered to the mother to encourage their womb to contract and to reduce any blood loss. Finally, the womb will be closed with dissolvable stitches and the abdomen with the same or stitches/staples which will be removed a few days later.

The operation should take approximately 40 to 50 minutes.

When should you make Caesarean Section Claim?

While C-sections are safe, it is a major operation that carries potentials risks. Fortunately, the number of procedures where an incident arises are small in number, but they can sometimes have serious consequences.

Medical negligence in relation to caesarean section can include:

  • Failing to perform the procedure in time
  • Not providing the correct pain relief, or not enough pain relief
  • Failing to ensure blood thinners are provided where appropriate.
  • Damaging organs during the procedure e.g. bowel perforation
  • Failure to repair organs damaged during a c-section

Sara Westwood, Partner and Specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor at Hatch Brenner specialises in cases concerning birth injuries.

Sara Westwood, Partner and Medical Negligence Expert at Hatch Brenner Solicitors in Norwich

“With caesarean sections on the increase, and having had one myself, it is important to ensure women are fully informed on what the procedure involves and the benefits and risks of a section.”

Inadequate anaesthetic during a caesarean

Click to view the case study

Deep vein thrombosis following caesarean delivery

Click to view the case study

Have you experienced similar?

Please contact Sara Westwood to discuss your experience of caesarean section injury through medical negligence at sarawestwood@hatchbrenner.co.uk.

*Birth injury claims, but only where the baby has suffered an injury, are one of only a few areas of law where Legal Aid is available to fund claims for compensation, although stringent criteria apply.

Read more: Stillbirths and neonatal deaths

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