Watch CBS News

Health: New Way To Reduce Risk Of Injuries At Birth

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - C-section deliveries are the most commonly performed surgery in the country. It's rare, but sometimes babies can be injured during those births. However, there's a new device to make cesareans safer.

They don't come much cuter than Sara McGahan, but the 4-year-old had a tough start in this world. Today, Sara has healed beautifully, but she had gotten injured during a cesarean delivery.

"The surgeon came over to me right after the procedure and told me that unfortunately they had nicked the baby's face a little bit," said Julie McGahan, Sara's mother.

What happened to Sara is known as a fetal laceration.

"Our traditional means of reaching the baby with a scalpel can sometimes go a little too deep and you can get a baby with a laceration," said Dr. Brigid McCue, an obstetrician.

The majority of fetal lacerations result in a cut like Sara's, but an internet search reveals just how devastating some of those injuries can be.

"The three percent that are deeper can be very severe, can amputate fingers, can lead to facial lacerations that leave a scar," said Dr. McCue.

And that concerned Julie, as she prepared for her new baby's arrival.

"I do have a lot of anxiety about having a third C-section because of that reason," said Julie.

To reduce fetal lacerations some doctors are now using a device called C SAFE. The initial incision is done with a blunt piece of plastic. But the real safety feature is that the blade then faces up.

"All the while the baby never comes in contact with the blade. And now that C-sections are approaching a 33 percent national rate, again it's time to open up our eyes and do this differently," said Dr. Hector Chapa, with C SAFE.

Dr. McCue is eager to use the new device. Not only was her own daughter nicked during a C-section, but she lacerated a baby during a delivery.

"It impacts the next 30, 50 cesareans that you do, that everything after that is like 'oh are you sure?' So it's devastating," said Dr. McCue.

Julie's third baby was delivered with C SAFE, without incident.

The company tells 3 On Your Side we can expect to see doctors using C SAFE in our area by the end of the year.

For more information visit:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.