Mom Has Home Birth After 3 C-Sections

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The CNN headline has now been changed, but it originally asked if mother Aneka of Maryland was a "hero or a danger?" for defying doctor's orders and refusing to go in for a scheduled c-section after what she now realizes were three unnecessary previous c-sections, and choosing instead to birth with a midwife in her home.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists announced earlier this year that they would support vaginal births after cesareans (VBAC), even after multiple c-sections, because they were significantly safer for the mother, yet Aneka is under fire for risking her child's life.

But wait, isn't that hypocritical?

The idea of "once a c-section, always a c-section" is almost a century old -- seriously, that idea started in 1916. For 30 years now, we've known that women should be offered a trial of labor, meaning letting a woman try normal birth and labor before deciding if she needs a repeat c-section, yet so many doctors and moms don't ever consider that. It's "I WILL have a repeat cesarean" or "I WILL have a VBAC."

The reason that really happens is because we've stopped even considering the trial of labor at all, so women have to work really, really hard for that vaginal birth. If something does go wrong and they do end up needing a repeat cesarean, they're told that they shouldn't have tried in the first place, they risked their baby's life and their own, and "I told you so."

There are situations where a trial of labor of VBAC is not a good idea, but require intense discussion with the doctor and often tests performed to look at issues considered, not just one doctor's opinion.

These are things that Aneka learned, over halfway through her pregnancy. She saw Ricki Lake's The Business of Being Born documentary that really questions birth in the United States, and it raised some questions in her mind. The more she researched, the more upset she got that her doctor refused to even consider the idea of a VBAC. Even then, it's not like she just suddenly said, "Homebirth! Whoo hoo!" She tried three other hospitals, called around, and was told, "No, no, no, absolutely not!"

Despite all the facts out there that VBACs in most women are way, WAY safer than a repeat c-section, and even that they could just let her do a "trial of labor" first, everyone just flat out told her no and told her she had no choice but to schedule her surgery. The only place she found that would even let her try was over an hour and a half away, which she decided was just too far to be considered.

She got in contact with her local International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) leader and got a lot of information from her, including the name of a midwife who would do a VBAC with her in her own home.

Her VBAC was an amazing, emotional, healing success, and yet she's still being called a poor example. A spokesperson for the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) says not to look at Aneka's story and come to conclusions because she took a great risk ... and yet their own release earlier this year discussed how much safer VBACs actually are.

Aneka wasn't a "hero" or a "danger." She was a mom trying to figure out what was safest for her and her baby, according to all the science out there, without the intricacies of business and malpractice suits getting involved in her birth.

Does this mean everyone should do a VBAC in their home? Of course not. But when we know that VBACs are safer than c-sections, when we know that c-sections are incredibly dangerous to both mom and baby, and we know that we do way too many c-sections in this country, doesn't it make a LITTLE sense to question why so many women are told they need a c-section when they haven't even been able to see if a vaginal birth is possible?

If doctors really don't want women doing what Aneka did, maybe one of those four hospitals she called in the first place should have actually followed the recommendations of the ACOG and allowed her to try. You can't villainize a person who you've backed into a corner.

Do you think Aneka made the right choice?

 

Image via CNN

c-sections, complications, delivery, labor & delivery, labor

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AmyTu... AmyTuteurMD

"we know that c-sections are incredibly dangerous to both mom and baby"


What? C-section save literally thousands of lives of mothers and babies each and every year.


It is misinformation like that statement that makes it difficult for women to make informed decisions about childbirth. So much of what VBAC activists and natural childbirth advocates think they know is factually false. This is a perfect example.


Amy Tuteur, MD

Xakana Xakana

Hell yes, she did the right thing! Anyone who thinks otherwise clearly has zero understanding of the statistice and real risk-benefit ratios surrounding 1. VBACs, 2. HBACs 3. Homebirth and 4. Outcomes of midwife attended births vs. OB attended births. For goodness' sake, science supports this woman. What doesn't? Money and fear mongering.

Xakana Xakana

Amy, aren't you the one who trolls MyOBSaidWhat? as well? Go read the studies. No one ever says that cesareans don't save lives, but WHO agrees that unnecessary cesareans are causing the high maternal and infant mortality rate in the US and other cesarean-heavy countries. A dutch study found that women were more 7x likely to die in a cesarean and a British study found they were 5.5 times more likely to die. How is that safe? It's surgery and should never be performed without necessity.


If you can't agree that major surgery should only be performed when medically necessary, you don't deserve to hold a medical license.

AmyTu... AmyTuteurMD

"Go read the studies. No one ever says that cesareans don't save lives, but WHO agrees that unnecessary cesareans are causing the high maternal and infant mortality rate in the US and other cesarean-heavy countries. A dutch study found that women were more 7x likely to die in a cesarean and a British study found they were 5.5 times more likely to die. How is that safe?"


Really? What studies might those be?


Everything you just wrote is factually false. Don't believe me? Try to find any scientific papers that say what you just claimed. They don't exist.


And as long as we are talking about the Netherlands, you might be interested to learn that Dutch midwives have unacceptably high rates of perinatal mortality both at home and in the hospital. Indeed, the perinatal mortality rate for LOW risk women cared for by Dutch midwives is HIGHER than the perinatal mortality rate for HIGH risk women cared for by Dutch obstetricians! Perinatal mortality and severe morbidity in low and high risk term pregnancies in the Netherlands: prospective cohort study, appears in a November issue of the British Medical Journal. Take a look.

nonmember avatar Holly

There are instances where a VBAC is never recommended--depending in part in the type of incision and why the c-section occurred in the first place. Without this information we cannot say whether this was a brave woman who made an informed choice or if there was a reason that 4 hospitals deemed a VBAC too great of risk.

stell... stellarluna

@Amy TuteurMD:  This is not misinformation... csections are INCREDIBLY dangerous just like open heart surgery is.  When the benefits outweigh the risks, then it is necessary.  The problem is csections have become a default for too many doctors.  The rate is too high, when there is no way on earth 33% of births in the US are life or death without a csection.  It is overused, and people are slightly nonchelaunt about such a serious procedure.  There are reasons why we have csections, but I'm pretty sure the rate of csections doesn't reflect real medical emergency when I have half of my friends and family of my generation saying they were threatened csection for such simple things as waters leaking for 12 hours, or stalled labor at 9 1/2 just for 2 hours!  That's ridiculous!!!! 

sherriet sherriet

Good for her!  Unless there is an emergency, there is no reason a woman cannot have a VBAC.  None.  If I have the chance, it's the route I'd take.  Extended recovery time,  risk of infection, and the happiness of a doc are not reasons to go with a c-section.

nonmember avatar Aimee

This women is amazing. She decided what she wanted, educated herself and followed through with it responsibly! She should be praised not villianized. C-sections are completely misused in this country. It's insane. I had 2 completely natural births with NO complications. I then moved had another doctor for my third and he induced me 2 weeks early (with no reason other then the fact he believed I wasnt gaining enough weight... I gained over 35 lbs and my son was born 8 lbs 13 oz) This then caused me to need a c-section becuase my son just wasnt ready. I dont understand why with no complications doctors are forcing women into inductions and c-sections. Should I decided to have another I will educate myself as she did and try to have a vbac when my baby is ready not when my doctor decides to schedule me in.

Kristi Bean

No, I don't blame her one bit!  I wanted to have a vaginal birth so badly, but when I wouldn't dilate for over 12 hours, and once a contraction came and my babies heart rate would drop they suggested a csection.  I was hysterical, but didn't want anything negative to happen to her, so I agreed.  I would love more than anything to do a vbac with my next one.  =) 

Pishyah Pishyah

Considering that ACOG has admitted that repeat c-sections are dangerous and that VBACs are "as safe" for some women as a repeat c-section then I think you're pretty full of hot air.  You make it obvious, "doctor" Amy, that you care nothing for women and birth but care only to perpetuate the cycle of "once a section, always a section" in order to fluff doctors' pockets up.  Congratulations, you suck.

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