C-Section Anesthetics Not Linked to Learning Disabilities

For further information, contact Melissa Maimann at Essential Birth Consulting. Link

Anesthesia during a cesarean delivery is not associated with an increased risk of learning disabilities compared with vaginal birth ...

The finding ... suggests that brief exposure to anesthetics during birth has no long-term neurodevelopmental consequences ... in an unexpected finding, regional anesthesia during cesarean was associated with a lower risk of learning disabilities compared with vaginal birth ...

One possible explanation for that ... is that cesarean delivery with regional anesthesia "attenuates the neonatal stress response to vaginal delivery that in turn has significant effects on later neural development."

... The issue has been of concern, since animal studies have shown that anesthetics can cause degenerative changes when applied to the young brain.

... Among those delivered vaginally, the cumulative incidence of learning disabilities was 20.8%, compared with 19.4% for those whose mothers received general anesthesia for cesarean delivery and 15.4% for those whose mothers had a regional anesthetic for cesarean delivery.

... the pairwise comparison of vaginal birth with cesarean delivery and regional anesthetic yielded a hazard ratio of 0.73, which was significant at P=0.046.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448