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Early C-Section Carries Risks, Study Finds


4 Star

Early C-Section Carries Risks, Study Finds

Our Review Summary

This report about the risks of an elective c-section before 39 weeks of gestation does a credible job presenting the findings of a significant study. It describes the results accurately and with sufficient details.

Two shortcomings:

    * The story fails to include information about the cost of the surgery
    * The reporter should have talked to at least one independent expert on the subject of vaginal vs. c-section deliveries.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No data comparing costs of c-section vs. vaginal birth is provided.

This is surprising, given the fact that one reason experts discourage elective c-sections is high cost.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The reporter does a diligent job of quantifying the results, using both relative risks and percentage of bad outcomes in the studied population.

The story usefully distinguishes among results for c-sections done at 37, 38 and 39 weeks.


Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


The risk of harm in elective c-sections is the focus of the study, and the news report explains them well.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?


Overall, good job of describing the size, methods, and implications of the study.


Does the story commit disease-mongering?


The story does nothing to exaggerate the risks or emotional aspects of elective c-sections.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

The story includes quotes from only two physicians, the lead researcher and the author of a related editorial. 

That is not sufficient for a story of this importance and length. 

At minimum, an experienced OB with no connection to the study should have been consulted. 

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


The story explains the risks of having an elective c-section at 37, 38 and 39 weeks. This information can help women and their doctors determine when to schedule an elective surgery.


Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The widespread use of c-sections is clear in the story.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The report makes clear, with some level of detail, precisely how common c-sections and elective c-sections are.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure if the story relied solely or largely on a news release.  Only an author and an editorial writer were quoted.

Total Score: 7 of 9 Satisfactory


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