Disclaimer: I am not a physician and am not giving medical advice nor diagnosing any medical condition or disease. All concerns and questions should be brought up to your medical provider. The information on this site is for informational purposes only that can be used as a discussion tool between you and your medical provider.
I will take a pause and say this is not a post telling you that c sections are horrible or wrong and that you shouldn't have one, because c sections can be lifesavers! This is more of caution for those who opt for a second Cesarean or a non-medical reason for Cesareans to show alternatives, risks, and benefits and to demonstrate what is actually considered a non-emergent Cesarean. I myself have had two Cesareans and am grateful for them saving my babies!
So let's start off by taking a look at some of the stats.
According to the U.S. CDC, around 32% of women in the U.S who gave birth in 2015 had a cesarean. That's about 1 in 3 women have had a Ceserean delivery.
What are some of the reasons doctor's and mothers are opting in for Cesereans?
Here is some stats/facts that I pulled from National Partnership:
Low priority of enhancing women’s own abilities to give birth.
Refusal to offer the informed choice of vaginal birth.
Casual attitudes about surgery and variation in professional practice style.
Incentives to practice in a manner that is efficient for providers.
Limited awareness of harms that are more likely with cesarean section.
Women’s great trust in their maternity care.
This is some of the reasons why Cesereans are increasing. Unfortunately this is contributing to some of the high maternal mortality rates. Cesereans increase a mother's risk for excessive bleeding, blood clots, placenta previa and accreta in subsequent pregnancies. Cesereans CAN BE LIFESAVERS! So it's so important to weigh the benefits and risks. Another contributing factor to higher Cesereans is how birth is more medicalized.
There's something called the cascade of interventions. This is when you start introducing one interventions during labor you eventually get more and more. The more interventions you get the more you increase your chance of having a Cesarean. Here's a common example:
First-time mom labor is slowing (which is common for first-time moms or moms that are stressed) doctors break her water and start Pitocin. Pitocin and breaking of water cause contractions to be very painful and unbearable so mom gets an epidural. Epidurals are known to slow labor because a mom isn't using as much movement to wiggle baby down her pelvis and keep contractions coming, so the mother gets more Pitocin. Pitocin increases the strength of contractions and stress of the baby. The baby's heart rate starts to drop. Doctors are concerned and suggest a Cesarean. In fear of her baby's life, mom agrees to Cesarean.
This is a very common course of events. Knowing the risks of procedures and knowing how to properly manage those situations can help lower the need for many interventions. So are all Cesereans Emergency Cesereans?
An emergency Ceserean is when immediate delivery is needed to save mom or baby. There's not much discussion about this with your provider and doctors and nurses begin moving quickly. General anesthesia is given to mom while dad or whoever is supporting her must wait until after the Ceserean is over. Emergency Cesereans are very rare. Some reasons a mother may need an emergency Ceserean:
Low dips with the heart rate and little to no recovery.
Baby suddenly goes transverse or breached
Maternal Hemorrhage (heavy bleeding)
Emergency Cesereans are not the same as an Unplanned Ceserean. Unplanned means mother and doctor decided that a Ceserean may be a better option over a vaginal delivery during the actual labor process and there is time discuss your options.
Planned Cesereans are c sections that were planned during a mother's pregnancy and a date and time was scheduled to plan on doing the surgery.
Cesereans have many risks so it's important to understand when it is medically necessary and not medically necessary or if their are other alternatives to try before doing a Ceserean. You can always ask for a second opinion.
Here are some things you can do to prevent a cesarean:
Avoid inductions/Pitocin if not medically necessary. (Ask am I safe? Is baby safe?)
Try a doula who can be an advocate to your personal beliefs
Be active during pregnancy, try pregnancy yoga or a Dancing for Birth Class, or Spinning Babies Daily Movements
Take a birthing class
Try different laboring positions instead of the traditional laying back position
If you decide to or have to deliver via a C-section I encourage you to research Gentle C-Section and bring it up to your Mid-Wife or OB/GYN. In the end, a positive and well informed birth experience is what matters!
***More information here on some of the reasons why doctors suggest C-Sections and if it really is necessary.***
Stay encouraged and be blessed!