Alarming C-Section Study May Make You Wonder if Yours Was Really Necessary

mom and babyWe know the rate of c-sections in this country has been rising, and the scary implications that has for women and babies. But what hasn't been clear until now is just how much more frequently they're being performed in some hospitals than in others.

According to ABC, a new study found that the rate of cesarean deliveries can vary from 7 to 70 percent among hospitals. That's shocking and quite disturbing, especially because researchers say that the variance isn't due to women requesting c-sections or to the fact that high-risk populations might deliver at certain facilities, but rather because of varied styles of practice.

In other words, it sounds like your hospital's ideas about c-sections could have more impact on whether you have a c-section or not than your and your baby's need for one.

The study was especially telling because the varied rate of c-sections in low-risk patients was so large as well (from 2.4 to 36.5 percent), which rules out the other factors that are often credited for the increased rate of c-sections such as maternal obesity.

Lead author of the study, Katy Kozhimannil, said:

The variations we uncovered were striking in their magnitude, and were not explained by hospital size, geographic location or teaching status. The scale of this variation signals potential quality issues that should be quite alarming to women, clinicians, hospitals, and policymakers.

I had two c-sections. The first was an emergency one due to preeclampsia, and there's no question I had to have it. With my second, however, I was given no choice. It was just assumed that I would have another, even though my daughter was full-term. I didn't question it at the time, but I do wonder if I had lived elsewhere or selected a different doctor if I might have looked more into the possibility of having a VBAC.

While I know medicine isn't black and white, it seems like there should be more uniform guidelines as to when any doctor performs a c-section. Something more concrete than a doctor's style should be behind this decision. C-sections are necessary, yes, in some cases, but they are also a serious surgery with real risks that no woman should have unless it's absolutely necessary.

So it seems that there's a need for some reform in the medical system and more real discussion about the practice. In the meantime, women should discuss this issue with their doctor and, if possible, try to get the rates of c-sections performed for both their doctor and the hospital at which they will deliver.

Does this study surprise you?

Image via Marie in NC/Flickr     

baby prep, c-sections


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Momma... MommaGreenhalge

Oh I don't have to wonder. I know mine wasn't necessary.

peanu... peanutsmommy1

Watch "The Business of Being Born"

It will open your eyes to the way women in the US give birth

mommy... mommyof5cutties

Same here I know mine was not needed. The doctor told me it was going to be 10 lbs +++ that we had to operate and she came out 6lbs :( how you can be that far off is beyond my thinking but I have had every one since vaginally or VBAC and it has not been easy finding doctors and hospitals to deliver me. U have had NO COMPLICTIONS not even a window tear in my incision. And I had all my children within a 7 year span.

Heath... Heathp721

I had my first child vaginally at 8lbs 9oz after gaining 35lbs and it took 26.5 hours. My second they induced a week early due to dangerously high blood pressure and I had only gained 15lbs the whole pregnancy. They started pushing a csection after about 15 hours bc they said he must be too big since I was barely dilating and hardly effaced. I told them I refused unless the baby was in distress and what do you know. I gave birth to a healthy but face up 7lb 11oz baby boy at 20 hours into labor. The reason I wasn't progressing is because he was face up instead of down. Women need to trust themselves more and not all labors are quick and under 12 hours. My philosophy is that I will not have a csection unless the baby or myself has a medical reason for it. If it is a safety issue I won't hesitate to have a csection but I will not have one for a doctor or hospitals convenience.

femal... femaleMIKE

I have a friend who had a 10lb(forgot how many oz)  baby, her sons shoulder got stuck and was without oxygen for a few minutes.  The baby survived but has cerebral palsy (i think thats what he has) and other complications.  I am sure if she had known she would have had the c section. 

BlueJane BlueJane

Mine was 10 lbs 2 oz. doctor didn't know she was so big so I attempted vaginally. Ended up with an emergency section. Second was VBAC with no problems. He said a second section wasn't an option.

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

Doesn't surprise me. What I think needs to be done is that more doctors and hospitals need to offer VBAC's. I know there are alot of risks with them but you also have to qualify for it(ie, what was the reason for your first section and which way did they cut your uterus?). I attempted a VBAC my 2nd baby but was unsuccessful. Baby was in much distress, so thank goodness for c sections because I might have no kids or deformed kids(my first was an emergency section due to her being facial presentation).

tyrel... tyrelsmom

I know my first one probably wasn't necessary. The first step to reducing c-sections is reducing inductions. That was the reason for mine.

Craft... CraftyJenna

I tried for a homebirth and ended up tranfering to the hospital because my water had been broken for 6+ hours with no progress after 5 days of active labor. The first thing the dr asked me was "are you ready for your c-section?" and tried to bully me into it all day long. I vaginally birthed my healthy baby girl after 12 hours at the hospital. It does not surprise me at all that drs over-do c-sections. 

mommy... mommyof5cutties

At crafty. My water broke after days if labor and I did not have a single contraction after my water broke. My doctor told me not to worry that by 12 midnight I would get going again. My water broke at 9 am.... so not a minute after midnight with no medication my contractions came on hard and a few hours later we had a baby.. it was depressing till the contractions started, then I could see the light at the end if the tunnel.

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