Post # 1
Every one of my pregnant friends in the UK and US has had an unplanned c-section for the past 2 years, even though most of their birth plans consisted of natural VB with no drugs. Something about the baby being in distress etc, and so they’re guilted into having an emergency c-section even though they didn’t want it. And one was told she’d just been labouring too long and so they wanted to hurry it up! And now a friend of mine who just found out she’s pregnant told me she wanted an elective c-section to “take the guesswork out of delivery and to be able to schedule it for visitors.” What in the hell? Scheduling the birth of the baby? I honestly just do not get it. And I’ve read the rate of c-sections in the US is somewhere around 1/3 of births….what was so wrong with the way women have done it for thousands of years before? Plenty of people walking around, so they mst have been doing something right, right?
Is anybody “in the know” on why there are so many emergency and/or elective c-sections these days? It just seems ridiculous that all these perfectly healthy women and their babies are so in danger that emergency surgery is the only way they can both make it out of the hospital alive.
Post # 3
Uh, well, for thousands of years women often died in childbirth, so I wouldn’t say they were doing it “right” necessarily. I do think some doctors jump to a c-section to quickly, but it many cases it is in the best interest of the mother and child.
Post # 4
@RipleyC: I had an un-planned c-section (I would never plan this for my 1st child or any child unless it was necessary because it was a b!tch!) but I was induced on my 40week date due to having a blood clot disorder and there being a lot of controversy allowing/going past 40weeks. I had to have a c-section because DD was turned sideways plus I had been stuck @ 4cm with no progress for hours plus the pitocin wasn’t working properly. I’d have a few contractions than none, than a few super close together than a huge gap. I had a problem with my epidural to where no bolus was enough to make me comfortable (once I got to the OR, they discovered my epidural had worked it’s way partially out due to me moving back and forth so much trying to get comfortable)
I probably could of labored on, I was only in labor for about 8hours before they called the c-section but DD wasn’t budging, I wasn’t progressing, and the epidural wasn’t doing jack.
I know a few other ladies who were induced who ended up having c-sections. I’ve also heard that being induced increases your risk/chance of needing a c-section (I’m not 100% sure why!)
But I wouldn’t and still wouldn’t elect to have a c-section. People think it’s an “easy” way out vs having a VB and let me tell you what….there is nothing easy about a c-section!
Post # 5
I was born by C-section and if that option wasn’t available, I certainly wouldn’t be here. When I have kids, I am all for C-sections if it is the best option for my health and the health of my baby.
I actually read once that human bodies are much more poorly designed for childbirth compared to other species.
Post # 6
Fetal distress and prolonged labor are absolutely valid reasons for a c-section. If you think these are unwarranted, I urge you to see if the local NICU can give you a tour of their unit so you can see what happens to some of the babies who are stuck in the birth canal too long or underwent cardiac distress from the contractions of the mother’s uterus. It will be eye opening.
Post # 7
I think that one possible cause for SO many c-sections is the high rate of inductions. According to my reserach while pregnant, I learned that getting pitocin to induce labor causes intense, painful contractions. So, mom gets the epi to be able to cope with the contractions… she can’t feel them, but the baby still can. So, fetal heartrate is affected, so then there’s fetal distress and BAM c-section.
Some people schedule them for convinience, and some doctors will schedule them in the event they are going on vacation or the weekend is approaching, etc.
Sometime when a laboring mother gets and epidural, the labor progress slows, so they have to give pitocin to speed it back up, and then there could be fetal distress which results in a c-section.
Of course, there are a multitude of reasons when a c-section is medically necessary and/or in the best interest of mom and child- like breech births, maternal preeclampsia, low amniotic fluid, etc.
I’m glad we live in a time with this kind of medical technology available, but I do think it’s absurd that the c-section rates are so high. I adamantly opposed being induced despite going over a week past my due date. I was going to do my best to let nature take its course and I trusted my body to birth the way it was designed to. If I had any medical issues I would have been completely open to interventions but they seem like a slippery slope so I was thankful to have been able to avoid them alltogether.
Post # 8
It just doesn’t add up. The US has some of the most advanced medical institutions and ground-breaking treatments in the world, and yet the also have the highest first day infant death rate in the industrialized world? The infant mortality rate rivals some 3rd world countries? And in Scandinavian countries, where the average c-section rate is 14%, they wouldn’t think of inducing until 42 weeks, home births are extremely common and doctors and surgeons are rarely ever present at a birth (they use midwives) the infant mortality rate is among the lowest in the world at 3 per 1,000 live births. It doesn’t seem like all these c-sections are doing much to lower infant deaths, so why not let the mother labor, monitor her and let her deliver naturally if she chooses. It seems to work out fine for so many of the countries that promote natural births?
Post # 9
@DaneLady: I have a question for you. From your last paragraph it sound like they tried to induce you because you were a week overdue. How did they respond to you refusing? How long overdue would you have absolutely gone before getting induced? I’m curious because while I’m not pregnant, I am very against getting induced simply because my baby didn’t come on the exact due date (which, let’s be honest, is a feaking guess anyways since most people don’t know the exact day they conceived). My SIL was induced after only being overdue by 3 days. She ended up having to get a C-section because the baby was stressed because of the pitocin induced contractions (my mom, a NP, totally called that one too! She knew it would happen).
Post # 10
US doctors are now starting to discourage elective C sections. I myself had natural and went early.
Post # 11
I actually just watched a documentary on this, called Pregnant In America.. I’m not preg/don’t have kids, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to give birth naturally, no drugs.
There was some crazy statistic in the documentary, it said something like the rate of c-sections goes up 30% on a Friday night in a lot of hospitals, so the doctors don’t have to be on call all weekend.
ETA: In the documentary it also said that the rate of c-sections is so high, because its faster and more “safe” from the doctors perspective, because less can go wrong, and they want to cover thier asses.
Not sure if all thats true, but if it is, its super disturbing.
Post # 12
@worldtraveler: +1. i almost died at birth because my mom had been laboring and pushing so long, my brain waves just fell right off the chart because i was being squeezed.
my friend also just had a c-section because she was a week overdue and the baby was head-up. she had been having mild contractions and had been dilated a bit for over two weeks, and the doctor decided they couldn’t wait any longer.
Post # 13
@DaneLady: Very good info, that actually makes a lot of sense! I definitely think there are some cases when it’s absolutely necessary to have a c-section, but I’m constantly hearing my friends say they had to have one despite demanding a natural birth and that their doctors went over the line to pressure them into it.
I actually had a home birth, attended by two midwives, and I wouldn’t even take a tylenol. I know this way is not for everyone and some might think it’s extreme, but it was an important experience for me and I loved knowing that my body could handle the labor and birth all on it’s own. I did have a point where my son got stuck and wasn’t progressing for 2.5 hours and the midwives were a little concerned, but they were able to shift him on their own and I continued to labor just fine and 2 hours after he was born completely healthy. I feel really proud and happy that I was able to be in control of my own birthing experience and having my friends express that they were angry that they weren’t allowed to have the same control over their experience irks me.
Post # 14
There is a LOT messed up with maternity care in the US, as the PP notes. In spite of our medical advances, we don’t do birth very well, partly because we’ve been fed misinformation by the culture (it’s simply not true what a PP said about human bodies being poorly designed for childbirth), and partly because we rely too much on technology and trying to micromanage what is essentially a natural but widely variable process. We also routinely do a lot of things (keeping women in bed lying on their backs, withholding food and drink during labor, hooking women up to monitors, pumping them full of synthetic oxytocin, etc.) that feed into turning a normal, safe, low-risk labor into a messed-up scenario that leads to C-section. For about 5%-10% of pregnant women, there are serious issues that legitimately require C-section to safeguard mother and baby’s life and health, and thank God we have the option of doing them because those are the women and babies who in earlier eras would have died. But the other 20-25% are created by unnecessary human interference.
The C-section rate in the US is out of control (32.8%), and it’s especially ridiculous for low-risk and first-time mothers (above 25% in both cases). Those numbers have skyrocketed only in the past few decades. The World Health Organization’s target is that the overall C-section rate should be no higher than 10-15% in any country/region (and closer to 4-5% for low-risk pregnancies). Above that number, C-sections actually begin to increase morbidity and mortality rates, not decrease them. Our high C-section rate is no exception to that: the US has the worst infant and maternal morbidity and mortality rates in the industrialized world, in spite of all the hype about how great our health care supposedly is.
ETA: Rebecca Dekker’s Evidence Based Birth blog has a lot of great summaries of the peer-reviewed research data on birth practices, including C-section, that is worth a careful read for any pregnant woman.
Post # 15
@IzzyBear: I was not pushed in any way to be induced. Well, non-medical people like friends, family, and coworkers wondered why in the hell I wasn’t begging to be induced. I was swollen, heavy, miserable, cranky, and incredibly uncomfortable. My ankles looked like popped cans of biscuits. I really REALLY wanted the baby out of my body, but I tried really hard to trust my baby to be born when he or she was ready, and to trust my body to know how to birth my baby safely and naturally.
I didn’t see an obstetrician, I saw a midwife. OBs tend to induce earlier, however my midwives would let me go as far as 42 weeks but at that point they would refer me to OB and I would have to be induced.
Let me also clarify that as much as I loved seeing a midwife and not a doctor, I would ONLY suggest that course for someone who is healthy, has a healthy pregnancy, has no health issues or complications, and is considered a low risk pregnancy.
I absolutely believe the only reasons I was successful in having a med-free birth were having a midwife, a doula, a supportive husband, and not being afraid or stressed about birth in general. At no point during my labor was I afraid at all, and at no point did I even think about getting pain meds.
Post # 16
I don’t have any insight into this, but I am definitely hearing about a lot more C-sections nowadays.