More Moms Could Be Having Natural Deliveries -- Against Their Wishes

This Just In 89

pregnant bellyThere are some pregnant women so worried about a vaginal birth that they just want to request a c-section. This does happen -- 2.5 percent of births in the US are mother-requested cesareans with no medical reason. It's fear. Some are so scared of birth, so scared of what having a baby is going to do to their lady parts and sex life, so scared of the "pain" that they think a cesarean is the better option. Generally speaking, it's not. It's major surgery. It has risks for mom and baby.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is now saying that a requested c-section by the mother should not be performed unless there is medical reason. I think what is needed here is more education about child birth and finding a way to take away women's fears because there shouldn't be the thought that vaginal birth is that terrible that surgery is preferred. I also want these moms-to-be in this 2.5 percent to have a doula and a massage every week.

If only it was that simple. But it could be. Perhaps if we allow doulas to be covered by insurance. Or better yet, doulas employed by OBGYNs to see every patient to help remove any fears they may have. And even if you cannot afford to have a doula attend your birth, you could take a one-time child birth class from one that won't cost as much. Because that's what this is about -- fear. We're not trusting our bodies. Women who fear birth could also spend time talking to women who has positive natural birth experiences. We are incredible beings capable of birth without surgery.

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The ACOG said:

If [a mother's] main concern is a fear of pain in childbirth, then prenatal childbirth education, emotional support in labor, and anesthesia for childbirth should be offered. 

The statement also included a warning that repeated c-sections carry an increased risk for uterine rupture, placenta previa or accreta, and the need for a hysterectomy. A c-section also means a longer hospital stay and recovery, risk of infection, a greater chance of bladder and bowel injuries, and greater overall complications with each subsequent delivery. No one should elect these risks. With all this evidence, the ACOG wants all doctors to have their patients plan for a vaginal birth unless there is an issue that arises that makes a cesarean necessary. Many hospitals are on board with this already and have banned elective c-sections and inductions.

Mamas, you can birth that baby. You don't want to have a c-section if it's not necessary. I had a very necessary c-section due to HELLP syndrome and really wish I was able to have a vaginal birth. I really wish I didn't have a nearly week-long hospital stay due to complications. I'm really wish my healing time wasn't so intense and painful. A c-section isn't more convenient. This statement is great, but more needs to be done to help take that sometimes crippling fear out of child birth.

What do you think of the ACOG's statement? Do you think women who elect to have a c-section should reconsider with the help of child birth educators?


Image via Simon Daniel Photography/Flickr

c-sections, labor & delivery