I was floating around Facebook, and saw this posted! Avoiding the First C-Section : An article on Birth Sense about what kinds of questions to ask your provider in order to avoid unnecessary interventions that have a high risk of leading to cesarean sections. In HypnoBirthing, we teach awareness of how to avoid interventions, and how to advocate for a natural start of labor.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the C-section rate in the United States has risen 53% since 1996. Scary! Cesarean birth is being overused, and VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) is being grossly underused, at about 8%, because many hospitals are outlawing VBACs. Because of bans on VBACs, women have been denied access in over 40% of hospitals in the United States . The National Institutes of Health has found that VBACs are reasonably safe for women who had a previous cesarean birth and are low risk for uterine rupture.
Many hospitals and providers fail to disclose all of the risks associated with cesarean birth. Some of the risks of cesarean birth include:
- Life-threatening risks to mother
- Long-term risk to reproductive health and future pregnancies
- Longer recovery time following birth
- More pain following birth
- Baby is often whisked away to the nursery or NICU
- Often no skin-to-skin bonding immediately
- Trouble with breastfeeding
- Bonding may be difficult for mother and baby (because of drugs, and separation time)
- Low Birth Weight in babies
- Respiratory problems in babies
- Infection in mother
- Risk of excessive bleeding in mother
So with all of these risks, what can YOU do to avoid having your first c-section?
- Take a birthing class that encourages you to speak up for yourself.
- Know your options about avoiding interventions and how to achieve a natural onset of labor.
- Know your provider, ask questions until you are blue in the face.
- Learn about the risks to all interventions you may be faced with.
- Speak up when you feel like something goes against what you want (don’t wait till next time).
- Ask for patience at all times from your providers while you are in labor (many c-sections and interventions happen because providers and/or hospitals expect birth to happen at their rate, not at the rate of the mother and baby).
- If interventions and/or c-section are not medically necessary, ask for more time.
- If membranes have released, ask for antibiotics after 24 hours, or whenever is standard practice at the hospital.
That’s all fine and dandy, but what about if you’ve already had a c-section and are faced with the possibility of another one? The International Cesarean Awareness Network has provided a document for women whose providers or hospitals have banned VBACs.
The bottom line, with all of this is, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! Research what you want to know, and stand behind your wishes for you and your baby. It is your birth, and you have every right to have a beautiful and gentle one.