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Cesarean is Independent Risk Factor for Postpartum Stroke

However, absolute risk of stroke remains low

MONDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Women who undergo cesarean delivery have a higher risk of postpartum stroke than those who deliver vaginally, according to research published in the April issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Shiyng-Yu Lin, M.D., of Taipei Medical University in Taiwan, China, and colleagues studied data from a population-based sample of 987,010 women in Taiwan who had singleton deliveries between 1998 and 2002. Cox proportional hazard regressions were used to compare stroke-free survival rates between women with cesarean and vaginal deliveries.

Cesarean deliveries accounted for 33.9 percent of all births in the sample. The absolute risk of postpartum stroke within the first three months after delivery was low, at 0.03 percent. However, after adjustment for potential stroke risk factors, women who delivered by cesarean section had a risk of stroke that was 44.7 percent higher during the first three months after delivery, 43.6 percent higher during the first six months and 32.5 percent higher during the first 12 months than women who delivered vaginally.

"Based on the results of this study, a reduction in the CS (cesarean section) delivery rate should prove to be beneficial for stroke prevention, which suggests that, as far as possible, vaginal deliveries should be encouraged," write the authors.

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