The Impact of Cesarean Sections on the Developmental Outcomes Essay Example

Studies show that infants born from cesarean sections contain different developmental outcomes compared to infants born from vaginal birth. In the journal article, "Vaginal delivery versus elective cesarean section and the impact on children's skill development" (Rodrigues & Silva 2018) explains the divergence of vaginal births and cesarean sections, along with the significant impact it has on the baby. In order to conduct the study, the records of 400 duos (mother and child) were taken into account for their health; another set of data was collected on the time spent on breastfeeding. A series of skills had been assessed to the children that had been born from both vaginal and c-section (2 years old), while techniques and tasks were placed to create results.

Vaginal Delivery versus Elective Cesarean Section and the Impact on Children's Skill

A baby is allowed to be birthed in different ways: a vaginal birth or a Cesarean section, a surgical delivery of the baby. The aspiration to either of these methods is to deliver the fetus within the safest procedure, and for the baby to be healthy. Vaginal births, also known as a natural childbirth, requires much preparation and education regarding the process. A Cesarean section is a surgical process to extract the baby, mainly used when the mother or baby are under stress or have health issues; it is also used to save lives. Within the most recent decades, the rates of cesarean sections have increased compared to vaginal births; during 2011, northern Portugal had a 30% rate of cesarean sections after reaching 36% from the year before. Portugal contains the highest cesarean section rates amongst the European countries, due to this reasoning. Multiple studies conducted world-wide have reported that the children born during cesarean sections and vaginal births contain zero differences within the psychomotor development. Meanwhile there have been reports that children delivered by cesarean section have advanced intelligence quotient (IQ) compared to those born in natural childbirths. The significant divergences within a child's development of skill delivered from vaginal births and cesarean sections remains obscure.

The Study

In the journal article, "Vaginal delivery versus elective cesarean section and the impact on children's skill development" (Rodrigues & Silva 2018) explains that there have been increased rates of cesarean sections compared to vaginal births. As vaginal births are considered the way nature had intended for babies to enter the world, they contain a lower risk of complications for both the mother and fetus. The research for the subject was conducted by Leite Rodrigues and Paulo Manuel Marques in Portugal, 2011. Rodrigues and Marques made 8 hypotheses to use as the foundation of their research on the impact of children's skill development at the age of 2, when they are either birthed from a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section.

The first hypothesis predicted that by the age of 2 years old, children born from a c-section scored lower in the locomotor skill field than those born by vaginal. The second hypothesis predicted that children born by c-section scored lower in the skill of manipulation than those born by vaginal. The third hypothesis predicted that children born by c-sections scored lower within the visual field than those born by vaginal. The fourth hypothesis predicted that children born by c-sections scored lower in the language and hearing spectrum than those born by vaginal. The fifth hypothesis predicted that children born by c-section scored lower in the language as well as speech fields compared to those born by vaginal. The sixth hypothesis predicted that children born by c-sections also scored lower in the self-care skill category than those born by vaginal. The seventh hypothesis predicted that children born by c-sections scored lower in the social-interactive skill field than those born by vaginal. The eighth hypothesis predicted that children born by cesarean sections scored lower within the cognitive skill field than children born by vaginal delivery.

The Method

The participants within the study were 400 duos (mother-child) in northern Portugal 2011, more specifically consisting of infants born from elective cesarean section or vaginal delivery; the study was conducted after the mother's gestational period (higher than 37 weeks and weighing 2.5 kg each birth). Data collected from the mother's record (such as their age, education level, marital status, occupation, participation in childbirth classes, body mass, planned parity, the folic acid intake before and during her pregnancy, drug habits, previous pregnancy method, and any diseases) was accounted for. As well as the infant's clinical records (such as gender, Apgar scoring, type of feeding, gestational age, any need for hospitalization, and their original weight) had set the basic account for the baby's health.

Then the data had been composed within interviews with the mothers; the purpose of the interviews had been to collect statistics of the time spent breastfeeding from birth until the age of 2, the infant's main caregiver, and any chronic disease development over the 2 years. Following the interviews with the mothers, the infants were assessed with the Portuguese version of the Schedule of Growing Skills II to figure the data regarding: their social-interactive, speech and language, locomotor, visual, hearing and language, manipulative, cognitive, and self-care skills. The mothers had been taught how to use such material to describe their infant's behavior meanwhile the task is in process. Each skill set had been performed as well as analyzed, however it was the dependent variable that was adjusted to the independent variables (the pregnancy and characteristics of the mothers and children); the purpose on whether the independent variable had any impact on the dependent variable, meanwhile in the presence of latter independent variables. Numerous recommendations as well as norms had been followed during this study.

The Results

Throughout the 400 duos (mother-child) within this study, a significant portion had been women who: contained non-scientific professions, were older than 25 years of age, had an average weight, no undergraduate degree, and were married. The data collected from the mother prior to pregnancy and during had been set to differentiate the differences. In comparison, the majority of the women had planned the pregnancy, did not attend any childbirth classes for preparation, and were multiparous (performing more than one birth or have already). Most of them who have undergone vaginal birth had begun to take folic acid prior to their pregnancy unlike the women who had undergone the cesarean section.

Nevertheless, in both groupings the women continued to take folic acid during the period of their pregnancy; neither women had smoked and did not have diseases such as: preeclampsia, hypertension, or gestational diabetes. The children born by elective cesarean section was born prior to the 39th week unlike the infants born by vaginal delivery who were born during the 39th week of pregnancy. While the majority gender of infants born by c-section were male, the majority for vaginal delivery were female. In both groupings, the majority of the babies had a weight less than 4 kg and a score of 8-10 during a 5-minute Apgar scoring. Those born by cesarean section were not breastfed up to 6 months of age unlike those born by vaginal who did, though none of the infants continued to breastfeed to 2 years old.

None of the babies had been diagnosed with chronic diseases however infants born from a c-section attended daycare, unlike those born by vaginal delivery who were cared by their mothers. The Generalized Linear Models in IBM SPSS Statistics, version 18.0, had been used after. With each dependent variable (within the skill domain or field) had been adjusted to every independent variable (the characteristics of the mother, baby, and pregnancy). The results showed that infants born from a cesarean section scored lower within the locomotor skill field compared to the babies born in vaginal birth, nevertheless both remained within the parameters expected for their ages. While involving the other set of skills, it appears that children who were not born from a vaginal delivery had lowered scores.


Babies born by elective cesarean sections scored lower results than those born from vaginal delivery, within the locomotor skill domain; however infants born from c-sections remained in the parameters expected for their ages. Children born from both vaginal delivery and cesarean section were below the parameters expected for their age, when it came to: manipulative, speech, language, and visual skill fields at the age of 2 years old. However, babies born from cesarean sections did score lower results than babies born from vaginal delivery within the locomotor skill domain. The data had shown that infants that were not born from vaginal delivery scored low in the self-care skill field, as well as below the expected parameter for their age of 2. Meanwhile, babies born by vaginal delivery had scores within range of the parameters expected for their ages. There had been zero studies found that authenticated that piece of evidence. With more studies and information, perhaps data regarding the significant developments between those born between c-sections and vaginal birth could differ depending on their upbringings.


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