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


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nonmember avatar liz

A vaginal birth is not by definition a natural birth. It's called an epidural, ladies!

LeeshaE LeeshaE

I absolutely agree. I am the oldest and my mom had a c-section with me because I was in fetal disstress but because of her previous c-section my two younger siblings were born via c-section and my mother passed away from complications after my sister was born. I think it is very important that the decision is not made lightly and the risks are fully understood.

Katy Khan

Yea liz, I felt a little misled :P And I do agree c-sections are out-of-control in America.

nonmember avatar MammaMel

I had a c-section to SAVE MY SONS LIFE. I think the most important thing tha needs to be done is for people to STOP calling it the easy way hurts ALOT...and for YEARS afterwards it can hardly walk for WEEKS because of the pain...I have a friend who did a VBAC and said the initial pain was bad (and once your drugs wear of BOTH hurt) but that the recovery was a peice of cake compared to that of a c-section...without question I will be trying for a VBAC. It really upsets me that people actually WANT to do a c-section to "avoid pain"...honey you are in for a RUDE AWAKENING!

arlis... arliss123

If you would like a doula but are unable to afford one, a good option is to look into women who are training to become doulas. Often they will offer their services for free, or a reduced price, in exchange for the experience.

Katy Khan

and I'll add that I had a vaginal birth the first time and next time will be a natural birth (or so I hope :P )

Laura Palmer

I could not agree more, if I was given the option to deliver through the ole' baby chute I would have, unfortunately my son's heart rate kept dropping over and over, and I was given an emergency c-section, and did not fuly recover for at least 2 months. I can't not imagine why women would opt for this when it's not needed.

BlueJane BlueJane

I had one of each. They both hurt. But the recovery was easier (and less painful) with the natural. If you don't like pain, don't have a c-section. Actually, if you don't like pain - adopt!

mande... manderspanders

C-Sections have a necessary place as a medical intervention.  BUT I *cannot* believe the number of women who treat it like it is nothing... that it is so routine that it's ok to just have a c-section just because.  Everyone (doctors and OB nurses included) would do well to remember that ANY OTHER DOCTOR FOR ANY OTHER REASON will try to find a way *not* to open up the abdominal cavity for surgery - which is why scopes are used for so so many procedures when practical.  Obviously, (duh) a baby cannot be removed via scope.  The point is that medical science created a way to avoid opening the abdominal cavity for surgery BECAUSE of the risks and complications associated with it.  Just because a c-section is common in the US and is for the purpose of delivering the baby doesn't mean it isn't inherently risky.  It's time the medical establishment take this seriously and reserve c-sections for medically necessary/emergent situations. It's time women actually take a pro-active role in their pregnancy - YOU are the only one who has to live with the consequences if something goes wrong with your body.

Mariah Wilson

I am very glad to read this but..... I had an all natural birth. No epidural. the anesthesiologist came in 6 times and asked me if I was certain, well yes, I had my mind made up since I was little.... . What is the point of having a baby if you don't even work for your infant? oh sure you worked to get pregnant but you won't shed the sweat and tears it takes to have a baby. Obviousley God made it hurt for a reason.

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