Apgar Scores and Oxygenation Levels: A Comparison of Vaginal and Cesarean Section Modes of Delivery

Allison Holt, Patricia Ravert*
Brigham Young University

Full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v9/holt.html

Abstract: This study compared Apgar scores and oxygenation levels of well infants born by Cesarean section (c-section) to those delivered vaginally. T-tests in a sample of 321 well infants (17.1% c-section deliveries and 82.2% vaginal deliveries) revealed no statistically significant difference between c-section and vaginal births for Apgar scores and oxygenation.

Every year in the United States over four million babies are born. In recent years, Cesarean Sections have increased with rates surging from less than 7 percent in 1970 to 30.2 percent in 2005 (Hamilton, Martin, & Ventura, 2006). Although Cesarean section (c-section) births are medically indicated for some individuals, information regarding the effect a vaginal or c-section birth may have on an infant would be essential for those mothers considering a c-section for non-medical reasons. As a nursing student, instructors at times promote natural birth methods. This led me to question what effect different modes of birth have on the baby.

Brief literature review.
The increasing rate of c-section births in the United States has caused concern and led to extensive research. In 2006, MacDorman found the rate of infant mortality to be 2.9 times higher in c-section than vaginal births. Complications such as respiratory failure and cerebral disorders may have a high rate of incidence in infants born by c-section (Kolas, Saugstad, Daltveit, Nilsen, & Oian, 2007). Respiratory Distress Syndrome, for example, is five times more likely to occur in infants born by c-section than those born by vaginal delivery (Levine, Ghai, Barton, & Strom, 2001). These complications may be due to increased fluid in the infant’s lungs after a c-section birth.

Read the full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v9/holt.html