10 Overused & Unnecessary Pregnancy Procedures

Health Check 98

birth laborYou're having a baby! Welcome to the incredibly overwhelming time when you're faced with making the best, most informed choices. Those decisions start the minute we find out we're pregnant. We have doulas, midwives, birth educators, and doctors to share their knowledge, but we should do our own investigating in books, online, and through friends so it feels right and works best for us.

With this baby-having, I think every woman should have a birth plan. And then a plan in case that birth plan needs to change. Because it probably will and that's okay. What's not okay is having unnecessary procedures affecting us and our babies without us knowing why, and if any potential consequences could come from those procedures. I stumbled across a Consumer Reports article on what to reject when you're expecting. A must-read. Let's review.

Before we delve into these 10 procedures that no doubt will cause many to get upset and say, "But I needed that!" please know that if you did need any of the things on this list, that's precisely the point. Many of us do really need certain things to be done (I had three of these), but far too many don't. This also isn't about beating yourself up if you did any of these things in the past and wish you didn't. This list is here to inform, not enrage. 

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What we should also note that it's in Consumer Reports because a hospital is still a business. You wouldn't go into a dentist, open your mouth, and say do whatever you want. You wouldn't go into a restaurant, give them your credit card, and say just feed me especially if you have any food allergies. You have choices. You're paying for it. You should make the best decisions for you. And when you're pregnant, this means the best choice for baby, too. Here is the list of often unnecessary procedures.

  1. C-section when you are low-risk and it's a first birth. It's major surgery. There are risks.
  2. An automatic second c-section. More hospitals are welcoming the right candidate to try vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC); 75 percent of the women who do attempt are successful. Repeat c-section do present their own dangers. Tori Spelling had complications and was hospitalized due to hers.
  3. Elective early delivery. Thirty-nine weeks is full-term. Late-term preemies (born at 37 or 38 weeks) often have issues because there is still more growing baby has to do in the womb even in just a week or two.
  4. Inducing labor without medical reason. It's risky. If it's not time, it's not time. It can make labor longer and increase risk of c-section.
  5. Ultrasounds after 24 weeks. There is a spike in c-sections for those who got ultrasounds late in pregnancy, but the experts say oftentimes there is really no need and the info gained is often incorrect.
  6. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring. This is recommended if you're on labor-enhancing drugs, had an epidural, or attempting a VBAC, but otherwise the monitors are restricting and unnecessary.
  7. Early epidurals. Getting them too early can make labor longer and not let you know when you have to push. Wait until the end if you are getting an epi.
  8. Routinely rupturing the amniotic membranes. There's an increased risk of cesarean here as well, and has proven to not be needed.
  9. Routine episiotomy. Sometimes needed, but most times not. Plus, more healing.
  10. Sending your newborn to the nursery. For a special need, of course, but studies show mamas get just as much rest when baby is bed-in.

What do you think of these unnecessary procedures? Have any others to add?


Image via MammaLoves/Flickr

labor & delivery, pregnancy health, tests & procedures, natural parenting, c-sections