7 Worst Reasons to Ask for a C-Section


About one-third of all births in the U.S. today are by C-section, and while many are necessary to preserve the health of mom and baby, about 2.5 percent of cesareans are elective, meaning the mom chooses it over vaginal delivery. Why? Well, moms may cite a variety of reasons, and may be coaxed by doctors as well. Still, these "reasons" don't always hold up to the reality, so before you opt to go under the knife, make sure you aren't buying into the hype of one of these "bad" reasons to ask for an elective C-section below.


Bad reason #1: You think a C-section is more convenient in terms of planning your maternity leave.

The reality: "Although a cesarean section can be "convenient" for planning maternity leave, it is important to remember that it is surgery and is associated with a higher risk of maternal infection, pain, need for blood transfusions, prolonged hospital stays and also a higher risk of neonatal ICU admissions," points out Jenny Jaque, MD, an ob/gyn at Health Goes Female. And those complications could easily eat up that maternity leave you planned so carefully, not to mention cause health problems for you and your baby. What's more, about 85 percent of women will naturally go into labor and deliver plus or minus seven days from their due date, so you may end up giving birth before your "date" anyway.

Bad reason #2: You think a C-section is less painful than vaginal birth.

The reality: "A C-section is major abdominal surgery and definitely more painful, with a longer recovery, than a vaginal delivery," says Fahimeh Sasan, MD, an ob/gyn at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Bad reason #3: You believe C-sections will save you from sex problems down the road.

The reality: While it makes a certain sense that women with C-sections won't "stretch out" their vagina and have sex problems down the line; a recent study argues that the opposite is true: women who get C-sections have more sex problems afterward than women with vaginal births.

Bad reason #4: You think VBACs (vaginal birth after C-section) aren't safe.

The reality: While vaginal birth after a C-section is not always possible, it's not as dangerous as many people think. "The main concern with VBACs is rupture at the previous incision site during labor/vaginal delivery," says birth educator Teresa Van-Zeller. Only the odds of this happening are small -- about 1.5 to 2 percent. One study found that 63 percent of women who attempt VBACs are successful. Those are decent odds, so don't rule it out until you've discussed this possibility with your doctor.

More from The Stir: What a C-Section Means for Your Baby

Bad reason #5: You think you need to get a C-section because your baby is breech

The reality: Currently, if your baby is breech -- meaning positioned with butt or feet down instead of the head -- the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology does indeed recommend a C-section. Yet if you can turn the baby around before then, a vaginal delivery is within your reach. "You can discuss an external cephalic version with your doctor to try to turn your baby from breech to head down," says Dr. Sasan. "If this process is successful and the baby becomes head down , then you could try to have a vaginal delivery."

Bad reason #6: You think you need to get a C-section if you're expecting twins

The reality: Some twins can be delivered vaginally -- with no ill effects for mom or babies. "This will require a thorough discussion with your doctor to see if you are a candidate," says Dr. Sasan. "Some of the factors that to your doctor will consider is the position of each twin as well as their size."

Bad reason #7: You have an STD

The reality: Certain STDs do require delivery via cesarean section, but not all, says Dr. Jaque. For instance, while many think women with Hepatitis B must have a cesarean, a recent study of 261 babies born vaginally to moms with Hepatitis B found that transmission did not occur as long as the mom had adequate prophylaxis. Similarly, women with HIV, herpes, and vaginal warts may be able to give birth vaginally depending on their situation, which should be discussed with their doctor in depth. 

Did you consider getting an elective C-section?

Editor's Note: The above does not replace the advice of a healthcare professional familiar with your pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or midwife before deciding for or against a C-section. 


Image via ARZTSAMUI/shutterstock

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