I just read that Tori Spelling has been re-hospitalized from complications from her fourth c-section.
“Tori underwent emergency surgery over the weekend due to complications from her c-section,” a rep for the actress told Access Hollywood on Tuesday. “She remains in the hospital and is resting comfortably.”
Tori’s baby Finn Davey was born on August 30th via a planned c-section. This was her fourth and her second in one year, following the birth of her daughter in October 2011. Further details regarding the subsequent surgery and re-hospitalization have not been released.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the risk of additional surgeries from c-section “includes possible hysterectomy, bladder repair or another cesarean.”
The c-section, though commonly performed in the US, and fairly straight-forward– is still major abdominal surgery and not without risks. There are risks for any c-section– mostly to do with a greater incidence of infections to mom and/or baby — but there are additional and higher risks with multiple c-sections. Some doctors recommend trying very hard to avoid c-sections (especially for a first birth) if you plan to have a large family. And many healthcare providers, including the Mayo Clinic, recommend against having more than three c-sections. A lot of the problems have to do with the placenta– after one or more c-sections there are scars on the uterine muscle. In a subsequent pregnancy the placenta can grow deeply into one of those scars or find it’s way to the bottom of the uterus and grow over the cervical opening. These issues can lead to placental abruption, which can reduce oxygen flow to the baby and/or excessive blood loss for mom.
I found this list of risks from multiple c-sections via Mamabirth blog from the Mayo Clinic website:
- Weakened uterine wall. Each uterine incision leaves a weak spot in the uterine wall. This might interfere with future pregnancies.
- Problems with the placenta. The more C-sections you’ve had, the greater the risk of developing problems with the placenta — such as when the placenta implants too deeply and firmly to the uterine wall (placenta accreta) or when the placenta partially or completely covers the opening of the cervix (placenta previa).
- Bladder injuries. Bladder injuries, which are possible but uncommon with initial C-sections, are more likely with repeat C-sections. The increased risk is likely due to scar-like tissue that developed after a previous C-section, binding the bladder to the uterus.
- Heavy bleeding. Heavy bleeding is possible after any C-section. The risk of excessive bleeding increases with the number of repeat C-sections. The risk of needing a hysterectomy — removal of the uterus — to control life-threatening bleeding also increases with the number of repeat C-sections.
The entire conversation about why we need to bring the c-section rate down in this country has to include this information and has to include the possibility of VBAC, vaginal birth after cesarean. Though VBAC is not without risk, every woman should be able to look at the pros and cons and truly be given options so she can see and decide what might be safest and preferable under her circumstances.
I have no idea why Tori Spelling required c-sections and I think I have read that her fourth pregnancy (fast on the heels of her third) was a “total surprise.” I am in no way suggesting that what happened in this situation was not necessary– I have no idea what the facts are in her case and I feel for her with four kids and four surgeries. C-sections have risks but obviously in some situations NOT doing a c-section has even greater risks.
As a maternal health advocate I think it’s vital that the public know, however, about these risks and benefits and alternatives to multiple c-sections. I find too often that women have no idea about the risks involved in the surgery and that doctors don’t do a terrific job laying out the options and providing accurate information. Families tend to be smaller these days, so four + c-sections is not something we all have to deal with personally. But as a public health matter we need to think about the consequences of rising c-section rates for our mothers’ bodies and our babies’ health.
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Photo: Tammra McCauley/Flckr