After delivering son Finn Davey on August 30 by C-section—her second Cesarean in one year—Tori Spelling was rushed back to the hospital for emergency surgery (she was just released last night).
The 39-year-old new mom’s health scare is again raising the question: Are women getting enough information ahead of time about the risks of the procedure?
A new study from the American College of Nurse-Midwives suggests they’re not: It found that 80% of women who are pregnant or have given birth did not receive any information during their pregnancy about a Cesarean section. (This despite the fact that 1 in 3 babies is now delivered by C-section.)
“It’s major surgery with many risks, including heavy bleeding and infection, which are the top reasons for the need for another surgery three weeks later,” says Harvard integrative OB/GYN Sara Gottfried, MD, author of The Hormone Cure.
Spelling reportedly had the double whammy of multiple C-sections and two very close together. “With each Cesarean, the risk mounts,” says Dr. Gottfried, who has not treated the actress. “It’s not like there’s a zipper on your uterus. There is scar tissue, your bladder, your core muscles, your intestines.”
Back-to-back pregnancies delivered by repeat Cesarean may pose a particular risk to mom.
“We know that women need a minimum of 18 months between pregnancies just to refill their tank nutritionally, so Tori’s two Cesareans in one year is grueling for her and her body, and a setup for a higher rate of complications,” Dr. Gottfried says. “Her poor body needs a chance to recover.”
Here’s hoping that Tori rests up at home. And hoping that this new survey gets the conversation on Cesarean started earlier—so women can make informed decisions and feel more in control of their reproductive health.